Here Jean Langenheim presents her odyssey as a woman field scientist, who crossed boundaries of botany, geology, and chemistry in doing ecological studies. The Odyssey of A Woman Field Scientist includes almost two hundred photographs and maps and uses a unique timeline as context for her story in relation to relevant historical events, significant changes in the status of women, and milestones in ecology from the 1920s to the present. Her research spans five continents and ranges from arctic-alpine to tropical environments. It includes many adventures (such as a forced plane landing in Amazonia and working in the midst of a coup d'état in Colombia) and interactions with diverse cultures, from Alaska Eskimo to Ghanain family life. She tells the story of a rich life of learning and discovery, through difficult and good times, which she has shared with many around the world.
Jean H. Langenheim is Professor Emeritus of Biology and Research Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz. She has researched resins for many years, publishing extensively with her students about resin-producing plants along the North American Pacific coast, throughout the New World tropics, and in other parts of the world. Her unusual breadth of background, as demonstrated in Plant Resins, has been recognized by her election as president of the Ecological Society of America, Association for Tropical Biology, International Society of Chemical Ecology, and Society for Economic Botany.