"Deftly chronicles Odum's life as a teacher, theorist, and activist, neatly setting in scientific and social contexts both his paradigm-altering vision of nature and his struggle to change the public's perception of Earth from 'supply depot' to home."
"A captivating biography of one of the most influential ecologists of the twentieth century . . . An enjoyable book for both the professional interested in the history of modern ecology and the layperson interested in the impact Odum's vision of ecology has had on environmentalism."
Students of nature around the world revere Eugene Odum as a founder and pioneer of ecosystem ecology. In this biography of Odum, Betty Jean Craige depicts the intellectual growth, creativity, and vision of the scientist who made the ecosystem concept central to his discipline and translated the principles of ecosystem ecology into lessons in preserving the natural environment.
Placing Odum's achievements in historical context, Craige traces his life from his childhood through his education, his collaboration with his brother Howard T. Odum in developing methods to study ecosystems, his contributions to the field of radiation ecology, his emergence as an internationally distinguished educator of ecosystem ecology, and his environmental activism. Craige also describes Odum's role in the creation of the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, and the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia, where he became identified with the statement "The ecosystem is greater than the sum of its parts."
Odum's textbook Fundamentals of Ecology is a classic, published in numerous editions and translations worldwide. Odum achieved membership in the National Academy of Sciences, shared with his brother the prestigious Crafoord Prize for Ecology, accepted six honorary doctorates, and received numerous awards for environmental activities.