Odum, Eugene Pleasants

Odum, Eugene Pleasants,

1913–2002, American ecologist, b. Newport, N.H., Ph.D. Univ. of Illinois, 1939; son of Howard W. OdumOdum, Howard Washington
, 1884–1954, American sociologist, b. Bethlehem, Ga., grad. Emory College, 1904, Ph.D. Clark Univ., 1909, and Ph.D. Columbia, 1910. In 1920 he became professor of sociology at the Univ.
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. He joined the department of zoology at the Univ. of Georgia in 1940, eventually becoming Callaway Professor of Ecology before retiring in 1984. A pioneer of the concept of the ecosystem (see ecologyecology,
study of the relationships of organisms to their physical environment and to one another. The study of an individual organism or a single species is termed autecology; the study of groups of organisms is called synecology.
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), he helped found the university's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, its marine institute on Sapelo Island, and what is now the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology. His widely used textbook, Fundamentals of Ecology (1953), was written with his brother, Howard T. Odum. Other works include Ecology and Our Endangered Life Support Systems (1989) and Ecological Vignettes: Ecological Approaches to Dealing with Human Predicaments (1998).


See biography by B. J. Craige (2001).

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Odum, Eugene Pleasants

(1913–   ) ecologist, educator; born in Lake Sunapee, N.H. The son of a prominent sociologist, he graduated from the University of North Carolina (1934) and received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (1939). He was resident biologist at a New York State nature preserve before joining the faculty of the University of Georgia in 1940. He turned from an early interest in birds to ecology; he became one of the founders of a rigorously scientific approach to ecology and was an influential advocate of resource conservation. His Fundamentals of Ecology appeared in 1971. He became an emeritus professor at Georgia in 1985.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.