EUGENE PLEASANTS ODUM

September 17, 1913–August 10, 2002

BY GARY W. BARRETT



EUGENE P. ODUM WAS recognized nationally and internationally as a pioneer of ecosystem ecology. It is rare that an individual makes major contributions in each essential component of academic life: education, research, and program development. A brief summary of his accomplishments in these areas is outlined below.

CAREER AS AN EDUCATOR

Odum considered one of his most important contributions, perhaps the one for which he is best known, the book entitled Fundamentals of Ecology. Although Sir Arthur C. Tansley first proposed the term “ecosystem” in 1935, and Raymond L. Lindeman called attention to the trophicdynamic relationships of ecosystem function in 1942, it was Eugene P. Odum who began the education of ecologists when in 1953 he published the first edition of Fundamentals of Ecology. The clarity of and enthusiasm for his holistic and ecosystem approach to both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the second edition, published in 1959 in collaboration with his brother Howard T. Odum, helped to educate generations of ecologists throughout the world (Barrett and Likens, 2002). The fifth edition of this book, authored with Gary W. Barrett, Odum Professor of Ecology at the University



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