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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Famed Ecologist Speaks at SUNY-ESF


SYRACUSE, N.Y.- A world-famous scientist known as the father of systems ecology will be the keynote speaker April 14 during a symposium at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

Howard Thomas Odum, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, developed the field of systems ecology as a discipline that examines the relationships among various elements of an ecosystem.

One of his former students, Charles A. Hall, is an ESF professor who specializes in systems ecology and energy issues. Hall edited a book about Odum, Maximum Power: The Ideas and Applications of H.T. Odum, in which he describes Odum as, "one of the most innovative and important thinkers of our times." Other colleagues and former students describe him as thought-provoking, inspiring, and enthusiastic.

Odum's appearance at ESF will be the highlight of a symposium titled, "Spotlight on Graduate and Undergraduate Research at ESF." He will discuss the evolution of ecology from a concentration on natural populations and communities to a focus on systems and energy.

Odum's scientific career spans six decades and focuses on ecological economics and engineering, and environmental policy evaluation. Odum has stirred controversy by combining theories of economics with ecology and by suggesting such innovations as using wetlands for wastewater management.

Odum earned his bachelor's degree in zoology in 1947 from the University of North Carolina and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1951. He also studied meteorology with the U.S. Army.

In addition to the University of Florida, Odum has taught at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. He also served as director of the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Texas and was chief scientist at the University of Puerto Rico.

He was director of the University of Florida's Center for Wetlands from 1973 to 1991 and became director of the university's Center for Environmental Policy in 1991. He was named the University of Florida's teacher/scholar of the year during the 1977-78 academic year.

In 1987, he and his brother, Eugene P. Odum, together were awarded the Crafoord Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science's equivalent to the Nobel Prize.

Odum will speak at 3:45 p.m. April 14 in the Marshall Hall auditorium on the ESF campus.

In addition to his presentation, the symposium will feature a poster session depicting research done by ESF students. Posters will be displayed in Alumni Lounge in the basement of Marshall Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The students will be with their posters from 2 to 4 p.m. After Odum speaks, there will be a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. in Alumni Lounge.