In Big Ecology, David C. Coleman documents his historically fruitful ecological collaborations in the early years of studying large ecosystems in the United States. As Coleman explains, the concept of the ecosystem—a local biological community and its interactions with its environment—has given rise to many institutions and research programs, like the National Science Foundation’s program for Long Term Ecological Research. Coleman’s insider account of this important and fascinating trend toward big science takes us from the paradigm of collaborative interdisciplinary research, starting with the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957, through the International Biological Program (IBP) of the late 1960s and early 1970s, to the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) programs of the 1980s.
David C. Coleman is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Fundamentals of Soil Ecology as well as many other books and articles.
“Coleman offers his personal, inside account of ecosystem science evolution over 40 years, including the influence of individual scientists. .. . Ecologists should read this book for its insights into the foundations on which present-day ecosystem science is built.”—Choice
"A fascinating historical narrative about the unfolding sequence of large ecosystem research programs over the past 40 years. As a player on this stage, Coleman conveys the intimate personalities and politics while still offering insightful and objective evaluations. Interwoven throughout the story is a remarkably detailed textbook of ecosystem science from then until today."—Paul G. Risser, University of Oklahoma