Lawrence B. Slobodkin

Lawrence B. Slobodkin

Lawrence B. Slobodkin (1928) is an Americal ecologist and Professor Emeritus at the Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He is one of the leading pioneers of modern ecology.


Slobodkin was born in 1928 and received a Ph.D. in 1951 from Yale University.

He is the founding chairman of the Ecology and Evolution Program and Department.

He is Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Guggenheim Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Institute Fellow. He is past president of the American Society of Naturalists in 1985, the Society for General Systems Research in 1969 and of Stony Brook University Faculty Senate.

He is an editor of "Evolutionary Ecology", and past editor of "The American Naturalist".

In 2005 he received the The Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America in recognition of an outstanding body of ecological work or of sustained contributions of extraordinary merit.]


His research is on ecology and evolution and has included:
* laboratory and field studies of natural history.
* evolutionary theory, philosophy of science and environmental affairs.
* population dynamics and symbiosis in brown and green hydra demonstrating the general phenomenon that symbiosis can under particular environmental circumstances become parasitism.
* trophic cascade theory, evolutionary optimization, red tides, daphnia, coreals and hydra.

A central problem of ecology is that the phenomena are complex and the theories are simple. He is concerned with understanding the ideas of simplicity and complexity in this context and also the relevance of ecological theory to policy decisions. [ [ Homepage] at SUNY at Stony BrookState University of New York.]

Mathematical theory in ecology

One of his early efforts to model populations of Daphnia were instrumental in developing mathematical theory in ecology, and provided the first experimental evidence for the connections between population and ecosystem study. But even though he had a strong role in developing these connections, he never hesitated to comment when he perceived that the theory was not being faithful to the real biology.

Simplicity and Complexity

In "Simplicity and Complexity in Games of the Intellect" (1992) Slobodkin begins at the beginning, with a consideration of how simplicity came into play in the development of religious doctrines. He nimbly moves on to the arts--where he ranges freely from dining to painting--and then focuses more sharply on the role of simplicity in science. Here we witness the historical beginnings of modern science as a search for the fewest number of terms, the smallest number of assumptions, or the lowest exponents, while still meeting criteria for descriptive accuracy. The result may be an elegant hypothetical system that generates the apparent world from less apparent assumptions, as with the Newtonian revolution; or it may mean deducing non-obvious processes from everyday facts, as with the Darwinian revolution. [ [ Harvard University Press: Simplicity and Complexity in Games of the Intellect by Lawrence Slobodkin ] ]

A Citizen's Guide to Ecology

The earth is continuously changing and evolving yet it is unclear how environmental changes will affect us in years to come. What changes are inevitable? What changes, if any, are beneficial? And what can we do as citizens of this planet to protect it and our future generations? In "A Citizen's Guide to Ecology" (2003) Slobodkin provides many insights into ecology and the processes that keep the world functioning. This important guide introduces observations that underlie arguments about all aspects of the natural environment--including both global and local issues. To clarify difficult concepts, He uses lake, ocean, and terrestrial ecosystems to explain ecological energy flows and relationships on a global scale. [ [ "A Citizen's Guide to Ecology"] description Oxford Univ. Press, 2005. ]


He publiched several books and articles. Books:
* 1980, "Growth and Regulation of Animal Populations", 2nd enlarged edition. Dover Press, 234 pp.
* 1992, "Simplicity and Complexity in Games of the Intellect", Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 266 pp.
* 1998, "Beyond Ecological Awareness", Oxford Univ. Press.
* 2003, "A Citizen's Guide to Ecology", Oxford Univ. Press, 256 pp.

Articles, a selection:
* 1967, with F. E. Smith and N. Hairston sr, "Regulation in terrestrial ecosystems and the implied balance of nature", in: Am. Nat. Vol l0l, pp.l09-l24.
* 1991, with P. Bossert, "The Coelenterates", Chapter 5 in: Ecology and Classification of Freshwater Invertebrates J. H. Thorpe and A.P. Covich (eds). Academic Press (With P. Bossert) pp. 125-144.
* 1994, "The connection between single species and ecosystems". in: "Water Quality and Stress Indicators: Linking Levels of Organization", D.W. Sutcliffe ed. . Freshwater Biological Association, Ambleside, U.K. pp. 75-87
* 1994, "G. Evelyn Hutchinson, an appreciation" in: J. Animal Ecology, Vol 62: pp. 390-394.
* 1997, with Craig, S.F., G. A. Wray and C. H. Biermann, "The paradox of polyembryony: A review of the cases and a hypothesis for its evolution Evolutionary", in: Ecology, Vol 11, pp. 127-143.


External links

* [ Homepage] at SUNY at Stony Brook State University of New York.

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