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Profiles — Page 2

Frances C. James, An Ornithologist with a Propensity for Skepticism

Contributed by William Dritschilo Frances Crews James, September 29, 1930- For her doctoral dissertation, “Fran” James questioned a hoary ecological shibboleth, correcting Ernst Mayr with a bit of German translation in the process. Although she was very much on the sidelines of the fracas that earned some of her more vocal colleagues at Florida State University the epithet, “Tallahassee mafia”—which…

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Beverly J. Rathcke, Challenging Dogma, Training Students

Contributed by William Dritschilo Beverly Jean Rathcke, July 12, 1945- January 6, 2011 “Bev” Rathcke was a member of what Jean Langenheim described as the “First Modern Wave” of women ecologists in her review article on women in the science. Rathcke was noted for “challenging current dogma.” In particular, her early work on stem borers played an important part in…

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Bettie Willard, Alpine Ecologist

Beatrice E. Willard December 19, 1925 – January 7, 2003 “I think my greatest contribution has been to build bridges to non-ecologists, interpreting ecology and its utility to them.” Building bridges, as Bettie Willard wrote to Jean Langenheim in 1986, was a major focus of her career. As a teenager, she began educating people about the natural landscapes near her…

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Lois H. Tiffany, More than a “Mushroom Lady”

Lois Hattery Tiffany, March 8, 1924–September 6, 2009 This post is part of a series for Women’s History Month, March 2016. See all related posts. In the later years of her long and celebrated career at Iowa State University, popular field classes (mushroom walks and prairie wildflower trips) gave Dr. Lois Tiffany the title “Mushroom Lady,” by which she is…

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Ada Hayden, Preserving Iowa’s Prairies

Ada Hayden August 14, 1884–August 12, 1950 Hayden is primarily associated with prairie preservation in Iowa. Within a year of earning her Ph.D., her research on the ecology of prairie plants in central Iowa was published in the American Journal of Botany (1919) and the Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science (1919). She issued a tentative call for prairie…

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Ruth Myrtle Patrick

With the death of botanist and limnologist Ruth Patrick on Sept 23, 2013, we wanted to share something about her illustrious career covering much of the last century! We were fortunate to have an excellent presentation on Dr. Patrick by HRC member Daniel Song at our session at the Minneapolis meeting, August 6, 2013. All photos courtesy Dan Song; taken…

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A group of ecologists under in a cavernous overhead.

Mary Minerva Steagall

She joined the Biology Department at Southern Illinois University (SIU, then Southern Illinois Normal College, SINC) in 1913 and became its head in 1921, a position she held until her retirement 17 years later at the age of 71. After a 1926 split, however, it was the Zoology portion of the enterprise she managed. But was she a zoologist? Her…

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J. Roger Bray and Gwendolyn Struik

The Diverse Contributions of J. Roger Bray and Gwendolyn Struik by Orie Loucks, submitted December 23, 2010 J. Roger Bray, through post-PhD collaboration with his former doctoral adviser at Wisconsin, John Curtis, was the lead author of one of the most significant post-war papers in the field of ecology (Bray and Curtis 1957, see Beals 1984). It presented a way…

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