Lawrence Slobodkin, 1928-2009

Lawrence Slobodkin, a revolutionary ecologist who played a major role in bringing the science of ecology into the quantitative realm, died last Friday. He was 81.

Slobodkin’s most famous paper, titled “Community Structure, Population Control and Competition,” showcased his wide-aspect thought processes. The paper, sometimes known as “The World Is Green,” purports that because vegetation is abundant on Earth, communities are regulated by predators that limit herbivore populations. If this were not the case, herbivores would decimate plants — and the world would not be green.  This classic paper is still a staple read for students in community ecology.

Read a really nice obituary at The New York Times, including tributes by Joseph Travis, Doug Futuyma and Michael Rosenzweig.