Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

Roots of Ecology: Antiquity to Haeckel

By: Frank N Egerton (Author)

274 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations

University of California Press

Hardback | Jul 2012 | #199838 | ISBN-13: 9780520271746
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £51.99 $64/€58 approx

About this book

Ecology is the centerpiece of many of the most important decisions that face humanity. Roots of Ecology documents the deep ancestry of this now enormously important science from the early ideas of Herodotos, Plato, and Pliny, up through those of Linnaeus and Darwin, to those that inspired Ernst Haeckel's mid-nineteenth-century neologism ecology. Based on a long-running series of regularly published columns, this important work gathers a vast literature illustrating the development of ecological and environmental concepts, ideas, and creative thought that has led to our modern view of ecology. Roots of Ecology should be on every ecologist's shelf.

"Readers who know Frank Egerton's earlier publications on the history of ecology will enjoy Roots of Ecology, a beautifully illustrated study of natural history's deep roots and the journey toward modern concepts of ecology. Egerton clearly demonstrates how centuries of concern about understanding the natural world challenged skilled observers and philosophers."
- Alan Covich, University of Georgia

"In Roots of Ecology: Antiquity to Haeckel, Frank Egerton deals with the origins of ecology in great depth and breadth, showing the diversity of the origins of the ecological sciences and their debt to ideas going back to antiquity. Not just a history, this will be a source book and a focal point for present-day and future historians of ecology."
- Eric L. Mills, Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University; University of King's College

"There is no better guide than historian Frank N. Egerton to explore and understand the deep roots and historical background of natural history and modern ecology. Roots of Ecology is the latest and most splendid achievement of Egerton's work."
- Jacques Grinevald, retired professor of IHEID and University of Geneva, Switzerland

"For centuries before ecology emerged as a discipline, scientists studied ecological phenomena. Frank Egerton’s ambitious and illuminating overview of ecology's historical roots will be essential reading for ecologists and for historians of natural history and the field sciences."
- Stephen Bocking, Trent University

"Frank Egerton vividly narrates the long past of a new science. One cannot help but be fascinated by seeing so much knowledge and so many different practices tied together to describe the eventual emergence of scientific ecology."
- Jean-Marc Drouin, Professeur du Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, Centre Alexandre Koyré




1. Early Greek Origins
2. Aristotle and Theophrastos
3. Hellenistic Natural History
4. Roman Natural History


5. Byzantine Natural History
6. Arabic Language Science: Origins and Zoology
7. Arabic Language Science: Botany, Geography and Decline
8. Frederick II, Amateur Avian Ecologist and Behaviorist
9. Albertus Magnus, a Scholastic Naturalist


10. Botany during Italian Renaissance and Early Scientific Revolution
11. Vertebrate Zoology, 1500s
12. Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, 1500s
13. Broadening Science in Italy and England, 1600-1650s
14. Plant Growth Studies, 1600s
15. Origins of Human and Animal Demography and Statistics
16. Robert Hooke and the Royal Society of London
17. Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, 1600s
18. John Ray and His Associates, Francis Willoughby & Wm Derham
19. Leeuwenhoek’s Microscopic Natural History


20. Richard Bradley, Entrepreneurial Naturalist
21. Réaumur and His History of Insects
22. Early European Naturalists Explore Eastern North America
23. Linnaeus and the Economy of Nature
24. Buffon and Environmental Influences on Animals
25. John and William Bartram Explore Eastern North America
26. Gilbert White, Naturalist Extraordinaire
27. Naturalists Explore Russia and North Pacific Lands
28. Plant Growth Studies
29. Plant Disease Studies
30. Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology
31. Animal Population Studies


32. Humboldt, Nature’s Geographer
33. Naturalists Explore North America, mid-1780s-mid-1820s
34. A Changing Economy of Nature
35. Beginnings of British Marine Biology: Edward Forbes and Philip Gosse
36. Hewett Watson, Plant Geographer and Evolutionist
37. Charles Darwin’s Voyage on the Beagle
38. Naturalists Explore Western North America, mid 1820s-1850s
39. Henry David Thoreau, Ecologist
40. Darwin’s Evolutionary Ecology
41. Victorian Naturalists in Amazonia: Wallace, Bates and Spruce
42. Victorian Naturalists abroad: Hooker, Huxley and Wallace
43. Plant Physiology
44. Phytopathology
45. Entomology
46. From Parasitology to Germ Theory
47. Ernst Haeckel’s Ecology

Maps 1. Locator map, chapters 1-8

2.Locator map, chapters 9-31

3.Bering’s Voyages, 1727-29, 1741-42, in the North Pacific and Bering Sea

4.Humboldt’s Explorations in Spanish America

5.2. British vegetation subdivided into 18 provinces


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Frank N. Egerton is Professor Emeritus in the History Department at University of Wisconsin in Parkside.


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