Odum, Eugene Pleasants
ODUM, EUGENE PLEASANTS
(b. Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire, 17 September 1913; d. Athens, Georgia, 10 August 2002)
ecology, ecosystem studies, environmentalism, ornithology, education.
During the second half of the twentieth century Eugene Odum was the leading proponent of the ecosystem concept in ecology. Taking the concept that had earlier been sketched by the British ecologist Arthur Tansley, Odum made it the central focus of his research. In doing so, he made important changes to Tansley’s original ideas. Odum emphasized holism, which Tansley had strongly opposed. He also employed organismal analogies such as homeostasis to explain self regulation in ecosystems. This was also foreign to Tansley’s original concept. Together with his brother Howard T. Odum, he conducted large-scale experimental studies of energy flow in ecosystems that caught the imagination of a generation of ecologists. Odum’s textbook, Fundamentals of Ecology, went through five editions and for a time during the 1960s and early 1970s dominated the field. Centered on ecosystems, the textbook effectively promoted ecosystem ecology by persuasively presenting it to generations of students. Odum also effectively used the ecosystem concept to promote conservation and environmental protection. He was recognized by the public as one of the leading environmentalists of the late twentieth century.
Family Influences Odum was a member of a prominent academic family. He was strongly influenced by his father, the sociologist Howard W. Odum, who was a leading advocate of regionalism. The elder Odum contrasted this sociological approach to the older idea of sectionalism, which emphasized divisiveness and conflict. Regionalism, as opposed to sectionalism, emphasized the growing role of the federal government in fostering cooperation and coordination among the various regions of the nation. From his father, Eugene took the idea of the integration of parts to form a larger social whole. He later claimed that this view encouraged the development of his holistic ecosystem thinking, and in his later writings he routinely referred to his father’s work as a basis for understanding the relationship of humans and nature. The New Deal progressivism that his father espoused became the basis for Eugene Odum’s optimism about protecting the environment through rational planning based on the application of ecological principles. His father was also a prodigious writer, and he strongly encouraged Eugene to write Fundamentals of Ecology when the younger Odum had doubts about his abilities as a textbook author.
Eugene Odum’s ideas were also strongly shaped by his younger brother, Howard Thomas, who studied biogeo-chemistry with G. Evelyn Hutchinson at Yale University and became deeply involved in research on energy transfer and biogeochemical cycling in ecosystems. H. T. Odum wrote the chapters on energy for the first two editions of Fundamentals of Ecology and he designed the experimental methods for the pioneering ecosystem studies that the two brothers jointly produced after World War II. Despite some sibling rivalry, the two Odum brothers formed a formidable team. Eugene was particularly skilled at presenting Howard’s often esoteric and unorthodox ideas in a way that was readily grasped and widely accepted by professional ecologists and the general public. Unlike his father and his brother, who were sometimes hampered by obscure writing styles and difficulty presenting their broad visions, Eugene Odum wrote in clear prose
that proved ideal for writing a successful textbook and the many other books and articles he aimed at general scientific audiences and students. Largely due to the efforts of the Odum brothers, ecosystems became an important part of mainstream ecology during the 1960s. The academic legacy of the Odum family continued to a third generation when Eugene’s son William became a professional ecologist.
Education Odum was a rather indifferent student, although he entered college when he was only fifteen. He later recalled preferring botany to zoology classes because he disliked dissecting animals. However, from early childhood he had a strong interest in birds. As a boy he maintained a journal, the “Briarbridge Bird News,” in which he recorded observations of bird life in the area surrounding the family home in Chapel Hill. His father’s secretary helped type and mimeograph the articles, and Eugene painted a watercolor portrait of a female catbird feeding her young for the cover for the journal. This writing project expanded when as a college student Odum wrote a regular column titled “Bird Life in Chapel Hill” for the local newspaper. By the time that he graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1934 he had published several articles in professional ornithological journals. After completing a master of science degree at the University of North Carolina in 1936, Odum moved to the University of Illinois where he studied under the ornithologist Charles Kendeigh. Apparently because of his lackluster grades, the zoology department moved to reject his application to the PhD program, but Kendeigh intervened on his behalf.
In 1939, Odum completed a dissertation on how the heart rates of passerine birds are affected by environmental factors. Kendeigh suggested the research because a manufacturer of piezoelectric crystals had approached him about using the devices to monitor physiological processes in wild animals. The dissertation research involved placing crystals in birds’ nests. The crystal converted the movement of the bird’s chest into an electric current which was then transmitted to a pen that recorded the cardiac cycle on a moving strip of paper. Odum’s “cardio-vibrometer” provided an innovative method for measuring heart rates under natural conditions and in a noninvasive way. His dissertation was one of the first studies of cardiac physiology in noncaptive animals. The research was later published in Ecological Monographs. Despite its physiological focus, this early article already hinted at the holistic philosophy of science that later became closely identified with Odum’s thinking. From his perspective, physiology had ecological significance only to the extent that it revealed the functioning of the whole organism in its natural environment. Heart rate, Odum claimed, could be used as an index of the physiological state of the whole animal and its responses to varying environmental conditions. He continued ornithological research during the early years of his career, focusing particularly on the physiological role of fat deposition in migratory birds.
During his studies at the University of Illinois, Odum came under the influence of the ecologist Victor Shelford. At the time Shelford was collaborating with the plant ecologist Frederic Clements on a project to synthesize plant and animal ecology into a more inclusive “bio-ecology.” Shelford emphasized biomes (large landscapes characterized by a particular flora and fauna) as the focus of ecological study, and he based this research on a holistic philosophy of science that presented these large-scale ecological entities as superorganisms. Odum later recalled that in his teaching, Shelford was scathing in his denunciation of reductionism in biology which he believed was “anti-ecology,” and which he sarcastically identified with the “Woods Hole establishment.” Shelford’s antireductionistic and organismic views became central parts of Odum’s thinking about ecosystems. Odum later recalled that Shelford converted him from being a traditional animal ecologist to a “holistic ecologist.” Although a significant intellectual shift, Odum later claimed that it was not a great leap because he simply transferred well-established physiological concepts such as homeostasis from the level of organisms upward to the level of whole ecosystems. Although he usually avoided referring to ecosystems as superorganisms, Odum freely admitted his intellectual debt to Shelford’s organismic perspective on ecology. Organismic analogies became a mainstay of Odum’s explanations for the stability and self-regulation that he believed were fundamental characteristics of ecosystems.
Early Ecosystem Research After graduation Odum continued his ornithological research for a short time as naturalist at the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville, New York. In 1940 Odum was hired as an instructor in the zoology department at the University of Georgia. He spent the rest of his career at the university, eventually establishing and directing an institute of ecology. Although he remained an avid bird watcher throughout his life and continued ornithological research, his interests shifted strongly toward studying ecosystems beginning in the early 1950s. This shift probably reflected the influence of Shelford, but it certainly also was stimulated by his brother Howard. After World War II Howard studied with the limnologist G. Evelyn Hutchinson at Yale University. Hutchinson was deeply involved with research on biogeochemical cycles, and together with his postdoctoral fellow, Raymond Lindeman, he pioneered the study of energy flow in aquatic ecosystems. Howard sent his brother copies of Hutchinson’s lecture notes, and during the early 1950s Eugene began corresponding directly with Hutchinson. It is significant that Howard wrote the chapters on energy flow for the first two editions of Fundamentals of Ecology.
Odum’s move to ecosystem ecology was also stimulated by new funding opportunities provided by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which rapidly become a major patron of ecological research. The AEC provided a small grant to the University of Georgia in 1951 to complete a survey of animal populations prior to building a nuclear facility at its Savannah River site near Aiken, South Carolina. Odum convinced the commission to expand this research to include studies of ecological succession and productivity, and he began a long-term study of these processes in the abandoned farmland surrounding the nuclear plant. This small project developed into a laboratory on the site and became an integral part of the fledgling ecological program that Odum was starting at the University of Georgia.
Odum proved a skillful institution builder. Although working at a small, relatively poor state university, he successfully created the Georgia Institute of Ecology, which came to include several branch laboratories as well as the main building at the university. It became one of the premier ecological research and teaching programs in the United States. In a retrospective account of the history of the institute Odum noted the critical role that funding from federal agencies such as the AEC, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and also private foundations such as the R. J. Reynolds Foundation, which established a marine laboratory for the institute. In compiling this impressive list of successful grants Odum was implicitly acknowledging his skill as an academic entrepreneur.
In 1954 Eugene and Howard Odum were awarded an AEC grant to study productivity on a coral reef at Enewetak Atoll, a major site of nuclear weapons testing during the 1950s. Like other parts of the Marshall Islands, Enewetak became a center for biological, geological, and oceanographic research related to the nuclear testing. The Odum brothers spent six weeks during 1954 studying the ecology of the reef. The product of this research was a thirty-page article published in Ecological Monographs. It typified the ecosystem research that would become closely identified with the Odum name.
The Odums found that water flowing over the reef was nutrient poor, and did not contain enough plankton to support the coral polyps. However, the coral animals housed photosynthetic algae inside their bodies. Other biologists had claimed that the algae were parasites that weakened the coral skeleton by burrowing into it. In contrast, the Odums hypothesized that the algae were symbiotic partners with the coral animals forming a mutually beneficial relationship. By measuring dissolved oxygen during the day and night on either side of the reef, the Odums were able to construct an energy budget for the ecosystem. The purpose of the study was to measure the overall “metabolism” of the complete system, balancing the amount of photosynthesis of the symbiotic algae with the respiration of the living community as a whole. This became a theoretical model for ecosystem research, but the Odums claimed that it also served an important practical purpose as a baseline for later studies of the reef as it became increasing affected by nuclear tests. Already the low-level radioactivity in the environment allowed the Odums to produce a radiograph by placing a coral head on a sheet of photographic film.
Finally, the Odum brothers claimed that understanding the stability of coral reefs and the cooperative relationships among the constituent organisms could provide lessons for humans who were increasingly modifying and manipulating natural systems. They described the reef as a highly cooperative system. The coral polyps provided protection for photosynthetic algae that lived inside the small marine animals. In exchange, the algae provided food for the coral. For Eugene Odum, the Japtan reef at Enewetak became a paradigm case of an ancient ecosystem that had developed a high degree of stability through the obligate mutualism of its constituent populations. The Enewetak study won the Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America in 1956. Completed on a shoestring budget and relying heavily on war-surplus equipment, the Odums’ general conclusions were later confirmed and expanded by a much more lavishly funded study of the reef conducted by a team of twenty-five scientists in 1971 during a program called Project Symbios.
Fundamentals of Ecology gDuring the early 1950s when Odum was pioneering large-scale studies of ecosystem metabolism, he wrote Fundamentals of Ecology. The book, originally published in 1953, was meant to be both a comprehensive textbook for students and a reference work for practicing ecologists. Odum later recalled that a major impetus for writing the book came from the condescension that his colleagues in the Zoology Department at the University of Georgia held for ecology. For these traditional zoologists, ecology was little more than descriptive natural history and was not based on truly scientific principles. In response to this criticism, Odum selfconsciously began each chapter of the book with a concise statement of an ecological principle, followed by an extended explanation, data, and examples. The book was strongly antireductionistic, a perspective that Odum inherited both from his father’s sociology and from Victor Shelford’s ecology. Rather than starting with individuals or populations, the early chapters of Fundamentals of Ecology were oriented around ecosystem structure and function. Even the chapters on population biology had a strong holistic emphasis that highlighted the importance of group properties such as cooperation and stability. Finally, Odum’s textbook had a distinctive environmental perspective. The final section of the book dealt with applied ecology including conservation, wildlife management, pollution, and public health. Odum presented ecologists as professional problem solvers who could use their expert knowledge of ecosystems to solve problems at the interface between science and society. This section of the book was clearly aimed at recruiting biology students to careers in ecology and applied environmental sciences.
In the second edition of the textbook, published in 1959, Odum added a chapter on radiation ecology to the applied ecology section. Despite his well-established relationship with the AEC, Odum had little experience with radiation ecology before 1957, when he was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study the subject. During the next year he spent time at the Nevada Proving Grounds and the AEC installation at Hanford, Washington. He also conducted research using radioactive tracers to study the population dynamics of ants in Charles Elton’s laboratory at Oxford University. Odum’s biographer Betty Jean Craige claims that sales of Fundamentals of Ecology were boosted by the “ban the bomb” movement. If so, it is ironic that Odum embraced environmentalism while relying so heavily on the AEC for financial support. He was not alone in this regard, because during this period many ecologists received financial support from the commission. Odum was conscious of the paradox, and wrote extensively about it both in his textbook and in semipopular articles. Mixing metaphors, Odum described nuclear energy as a two-edged sword, but admitted that it had proven easier to use this sword as a weapon than to fashion it into plowshares. Nonetheless, Odum optimistically believed that the atomic age could provide tools for solving the very environmental problems that it was creating. He pointed to radioactive tracers, which he used for some of his own research, as an example of how nuclear technology could be employed to gain useful insights into ecological processes.
Fundamentals of Ecology eventually went through five editions. It retained its basic outline, although it grew considerably in size and coverage. The third edition, published in 1971, contained a number of new chapters written by other authors on diverse topics including remote sensing, the ecology of space travel, microbial ecology, and mathematical modeling associated with systems ecology. It was now the leading ecology textbook in the United States and was eventually translated into twelve foreign languages. One critic sarcastically commented that the “odum” had become the unit of measurement for textbooks of ecology. However, important changes were occurring in the field and these were reflected in a new generation of textbooks that increasingly challenged Fundamentals of Ecology during the 1970s. Most notably, evolutionary ecologists taking a strong Darwinian perspective were redirecting attention from ecosystems to populations. Furthermore, they emphasized the importance of individual fitness and often denied the importance of the group adaptations that Odum believed held populations and communities together. Odum had never been a strong supporter of individual selection which he equated with a “survival of the fittest” mentality, but by the mid-1970s his belief in cooperation based upon group selection began to lose favor with many younger ecologists.
Odum’s textbook was unusual in its top-down approach to ecology. Unlike most textbooks both before and since, Fundamentals of Ecology moved from ecosystems to the lower levels of biological organization: communities, populations, and individuals. For Odum, the ecosystem was a unifying concept that provided coherence to the discipline. In a short article titled “The New Ecology,” Odum claimed that ecologists could rally around the ecosystem much as molecular biologists rallied around the cell. Although this did not happen to the extent that he predicted, Odum’s approach did help to significantly reshape modern ecology. His emphasis on ecosystems as fundamental units helped to break down the artificial divide between plant and animal ecology. His emphasis on energy and biochemical cycling also provided a rationale for studying bacteria, fungi, and other groups of organisms that ecologists had previously neglected. The energy flow diagrams from Fundamentals of Ecology have become ecological icons that continue to be used in textbooks. Later reactions against some of his ideas notwithstanding, Fundamentals of Ecology was the book that graduate students typically studied during one of the most active periods of growth in the discipline of ecology. Odum’s colleague Gary Barrett reported that in a survey conducted by the American Institute of Biological Sciences in 2002, Fundamentals of Ecology was cited as the textbook that had the greatest impact on the careers of its members.
Holism Defended and Criticized The holistic, cooperative view of nature that Odum developed in his textbook was also prominently presented in his presidential address to the Ecological Society of America in 1966 and later published as a high-profile article in Science. The title, “The Strategy of Ecosystem Development,” encapsulated Odum’s view of ecosystems as highly organized systems with strong parallels to organisms and human societies. Applying the term strategy to ecosystems was controversial both for its anthropomorphism and its implication that group selection was involved in shaping ecosystems. Odum argued that all ecosystems follow a common strategy leading to a steady state equilibrium characteristic of mature systems. He proposed to replace the well-established term succession with development, highlighting the analogy between the process of orderly changes that he saw in ecosystems and the ontogeny of an organism. The strategy of ecosystem development was summarized in a table of contrasting characteristics of early and mature ecosystems. Odum claimed that during succession maturing ecosystems increasingly developed self-regulation or homeostasis in the same way that organisms did. This ecosystem homeostasis was mediated by such characteristics as high species diversity, niche specialization, complex food webs, high ratios of biomass to production, and increased interdependence among species in the form of obligate mutualism. At the end of the article Odum described how human history had also followed this strategy with “boom-bust” pioneering societies eventually giving way to more stable, mature societies characterized by well-developed systems of civil rights, culture, and law and order.
By his own admission, Odum’s article was controversial and the idea that ecosystems are highly organized, self-regulating entities came under considerable criticism. Odum’s table of characteristics of young and mature ecosystems continues to appear in some ecology textbooks highlighting its pedagogical usefulness as a capsule summary of important trends in ecological succession. However, Odum’s progressive view of nature as stable and cooperative has been rejected by many ecologists who deny progress in nature and view cooperation as competition in disguise. Odum consistently argued that interacting species tend to evolve from primitive parasitism to more advanced forms of mutualism. The coral reef at Enewetak was one such example. Another was the evolution of lichens, which involved a symbiosis of fungus and algae. Odum argued that in primitive lichens the fungus was a parasite that entrapped algae, penetrated their cells, and harvested the products of photosynthesis. In more advanced lichens, Odum believed that the relationship had evolved into mutualism: the algae provided food and the fungus provided nutrients and protection. In these lichens the fungus did not actually penetrate the algal cells, but the two species formed such a tight partnership that neither organism could survive independently. Although not denying that such cases of mutualism may occur, many ecologists today emphasize the instability of such relationships and interpret them as examples of mutual exploitation, rather than true cooperation.
Odum’s Environmentalism Despite his controversial views on the nature of ecosystems, Odum’s holistic philosophy of science resonated with many environmentalists. The popular slogan that everything in nature is interconnected, which captured the essence of Odum’s position, was a powerful argument for conserving natural habitats, protecting endangered species, and abating pollution. At the height of the environmental movement Odum’s picture appeared in popular publications such as Time and Newsweek. Articles in these news magazines echoed Odum’s claim that ecologists were professional problem solvers who had particular expertise in environmental matters.
Increasingly during the 1970s Odum argued that ecology was not simply a biological subdiscipline, but rather an independent and interdisciplinary science that bridged the biological, physical, and social sciences. This bridge-building theme was highlighted in several popular books on ecology, where Odum called for a “bionomics” that would include the value of the work done by natural ecosystems (sometimes referred to as “ecosystem services”) in the cost-benefit calculations used by economists. Consciously building on his father’s ideas, Odum also argued for a rational “ecosystem management” that would combine perspectives from ecology, sociology, and economics. For example, he approvingly described how choosing sites for nuclear power plants in California now took into account environmental and recreational concerns, as well as profitability. Denying permits for plants near scenic or environmentally sensitive areas might mean higher energy prices, but this “negative feedback” would be beneficial in limiting population growth and urbanization.
Much of Odum’s writings on science and society, particularly as related to land use and other environmental issues, evinced the strong concern for social justice that he inherited from his father. At other times, however, he used the more coercive language of control theory which came from his later interest in cybernetics and systems theory. To a large extent this cybernetic way of thinking about both ecosystems and society was derived from his brother, who was one of the founders of a highly theoretical systems ecology. Eugene never moved as far in this direction as Howard, but there was an unresolved tension in his social thought. Some recent critics, notably the writer Alston Chase, condemn Odum and other ecosystem ecologists for providing the intellectual justification for what the critics see as heavy-handed bureaucratic meddling in cases such as the spotted owls in old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. Odum’s view of comprehensive planning based on scientific expertise assumed an activist role for government, and this clashed with the individualism of his critics. In the balance, however, it seems fair to credit Odum with raising public awareness of pressing environmental problems and providing a useful intellectual framework for discussing them.
Odum was a tireless advocate for environmentalism at the state and local level, as well as nationally. He was an award-winning teacher who was comfortable discussing environmental issues to audiences ranging from elementary school classrooms to elite universities. He actively campaigned for environmental protection of natural areas, particularly coastal marshlands. In 1969 he joined a “Save Our Marshes Committee” to prevent phosphate mining along the Georgia coast. His prominence brought national attention to the issue, including quotations in an article in Life magazine. He provided testimony before the state legislature and conducted teach-ins at the University of Georgia. In 1970 the state legislature passed a Marshlands Protection Act that was signed into law. For his environmental activism, as well as his writing, Odum was awarded numerous honors by state and national conservation groups. Late in life Odum also became a philanthropist, making substantial contributions to environmental organizations and educational institutions. He had grown wealthy through the sales of his many books and from his various awards and prizes, and before his death he donated over $1.5 million to several universities and environmental organizations. In his will he bequeathed much of his estate to the University of Georgia and its environmental education programs.
Institution Building Despite his emphasis on cooperation both in nature and society, Eugene Odum was an intensely competitive scientist. From the time that he arrived at the University of Georgia he single-mindedly worked to promote ecology and to develop an ecological program that was independent of other university departments, notably zoology and botany. This goal met resistance, particularly during the 1950s when the Zoology Department refused to add ecology to the educational core and rejected Odum’s plan to hire another ecologist. Despite this resistance, Odum used funding from the AEC to begin a small ecological research program that eventually became the Savannah River Ecological Laboratory. He also successfully negotiated a gift of land, buildings, and financial support from the tobacco heir Richard J. Reynolds to build a marine laboratory on Sapelo Island. These laboratories later became important parts of the larger ecological program that Odum directed.
During the 1960s and 1970s Odum’s national prominence helped to launch a rapid expansion in the ecology program at the University of Georgia. The Georgia Institute of Ecology was officially started in 1967, and a new ecology building was erected in 1974. Odum further supported these developments by endowing ecological research at the institute, using the $150,000 that he received with the Tyler Award for Environmental Achievement in 1977. The gift was eventually matched by the university. Odum directed the Institute of Ecology until his official retirement in 1984, and continued to be active as director emeritus until his death. Odum’s dream of having an ecology program fully independent of other academic departments was finally fulfilled in 1993 when the Institute of Ecology began offering its own degree programs.
Family In 1939 Odum married Martha Ann Huff, a successful watercolor painter. Their son, William Eugene Odum, was a professional ecologist and became the head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia before his early death from liver cancer. The Odums’ second son, Daniel Thomas, was severely retarded and spent his life in a state hospital. After his wife’s death Odum continued to write extensively, including a book of short ecological vignettes and a published work of Martha Odum’s watercolor paintings. He died of an apparent heart attack while working in his organic garden.
Awards and Honors Odum was selected to be a delegate to the first “Atoms for Peace” conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1950. He served as president of the Ecological Society of America in 1964. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and was an honorary member of the British Ecological Society. In 1974 he received the Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America. Together with his brother Howard T. Odum, he was awarded the Prix de l’Institute de la Vie from the French government in 1975 and the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in 1987. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences in 1978.
Odum was named Conservationist of the Year in 1976 by the Georgia Wildlife Foundation. In 1977 he received the Tyler Award for Environmental Achievement. He was awarded the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal by the Garden Club of America in 1981. He received the Chevron Conservation Award in 1989 and the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Award in 1991. He was named Educator of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation in 1983 and received the Environmental Educator Award in 1992 from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.
WORKS BY ODUM
“Variations in the Heart Rate of Birds: A Study in Physiological Ecology.” Ecological Monographs 11 (1941): 299–326.
Fundamentals of Ecology. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1953. 2nd ed. 1959. 3rd ed. 1971. 4th ed. 1983. 5th ed. 2005.
With Howard T. Odum. “Trophic Structure and Productivity of a Windward Coral Reef Community on Eniwetok Atoll.” Ecological Monographs 25 (1955): 291–320.
Ecology: The Link between the Natural and Social Sciences. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963. 2nd ed. 1975.
“The New Ecology.” Bioscience 14 (July 1964): 14–16.
“The Strategy of Ecosystem Development.” Science 164 (1969): 262–270.
Barrett, Gary W. “Eugene Pleasants Odum, 1913–2002,” Biographical Memoirs, vol. 87. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, 2005.
Barrett, Gary W., and Terry L. Barrett, eds. Holistic Science: The Evolution of the Georgia Institute of Ecology (1940–2000). New York: Taylor & Francis, 2001. Odum wrote the foreword and contributed a chapter on the early history of the institute.
Craige, Betty Jean. Eugene Odum: Ecosystem Ecologist & Environmentalist. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001. This is a useful biography that includes complete lists of Odum’s publications and awards to 1999.
Golley, Frank Benjamin. A History of the Ecosystem Concept in Ecology: More than the Sum of the Parts. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993.
Hagen, Joel B. An Entangled Bank: The Origins of Ecosystem Ecology. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1992.
Joel B. Hagen