Foundations and Frontiers of Ecosystem Science: Legacy of a Classic Paper (Odum 1969)

Jessica R. Corman, Scott L. Collins, Elizabeth M. Cook, Xiaoli Dong, Laureano A. Gherardi, Nancy Grimm, Rebecca L. Hale, Tao Lin, Jorge Ramos, Lara G. Reichmann, Osvaldo Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Ecosystem ecology, like all scientific disciplines, is often propelled forward by “classic” papers that identify key concepts within the field and define the core questions for generations of scientists. Here, we examine the legacy and sustained impact of a paper long considered a classic in ecology, E.P. (Gene) Odum’s 1969 “The strategy of ecosystem development.” Odum’s paper presented testable predictions about species diversity, energy flow, and biogeochemical dynamics during ecosystem succession and provided guiding principles for environmental conservation and management. Odum’s 24 predictions on “ecosystem development” were a key component of this paper’s legacy: The framework was referenced in 62.0% and tested in 28.7% of 1598 citing papers we examined. Although we found that support for Odum’s framework grew over time, support for any particular prediction was inconsistent, highlighting the unresolved nature of some of the framework’s principles. Odum’s conceptual framework for ecosystem studies—as well as his forward-thinking attempts to connect ecosystem ecology with humans and society—continues to be pertinent to current and future research frontiers. Simplicity of the framework was its strength, and major limitation, painting ecosystem functioning in broad strokes, with no acknowledgement about interactions among the predictions. Newer generations have their work cut out for them by bridging evolutionary biology and ecosystem science or metabolic theory and ecological stoichiometry. Similarly, newer generations are using Odum’s multidisciplinary approach to address the most pressing global change issues and designing solutions that make the Earth life sustaining system compatible with growing human demands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1160-1172
Number of pages13
JournalEcosystems
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019

Fingerprint

Ecosystems
ecosystems
ecosystem
Ecology
prediction
ecology
ecological succession
ecosystem dynamics
energy flow
evolutionary biology
stoichiometry
pressing
global change
science
Biodiversity
conceptual framework
Painting
environmental management
species diversity
Stoichiometry

Keywords

  • bibliographic analysis
  • classic papers
  • ecological systems
  • ecosystem science
  • human dimensions
  • Odum
  • research frontiers
  • succession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology

Cite this

Foundations and Frontiers of Ecosystem Science : Legacy of a Classic Paper (Odum 1969). / Corman, Jessica R.; Collins, Scott L.; Cook, Elizabeth M.; Dong, Xiaoli; Gherardi, Laureano A.; Grimm, Nancy; Hale, Rebecca L.; Lin, Tao; Ramos, Jorge; Reichmann, Lara G.; Sala, Osvaldo.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 22, No. 5, 15.08.2019, p. 1160-1172.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Corman, JR, Collins, SL, Cook, EM, Dong, X, Gherardi, LA, Grimm, N, Hale, RL, Lin, T, Ramos, J, Reichmann, LG & Sala, O 2019, 'Foundations and Frontiers of Ecosystem Science: Legacy of a Classic Paper (Odum 1969)', Ecosystems, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 1160-1172. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-018-0316-3
Corman, Jessica R. ; Collins, Scott L. ; Cook, Elizabeth M. ; Dong, Xiaoli ; Gherardi, Laureano A. ; Grimm, Nancy ; Hale, Rebecca L. ; Lin, Tao ; Ramos, Jorge ; Reichmann, Lara G. ; Sala, Osvaldo. / Foundations and Frontiers of Ecosystem Science : Legacy of a Classic Paper (Odum 1969). In: Ecosystems. 2019 ; Vol. 22, No. 5. pp. 1160-1172.
@article{7a34c5716da54947bf8b7f4b92203e8b,
title = "Foundations and Frontiers of Ecosystem Science: Legacy of a Classic Paper (Odum 1969)",
abstract = "Ecosystem ecology, like all scientific disciplines, is often propelled forward by “classic” papers that identify key concepts within the field and define the core questions for generations of scientists. Here, we examine the legacy and sustained impact of a paper long considered a classic in ecology, E.P. (Gene) Odum’s 1969 “The strategy of ecosystem development.” Odum’s paper presented testable predictions about species diversity, energy flow, and biogeochemical dynamics during ecosystem succession and provided guiding principles for environmental conservation and management. Odum’s 24 predictions on “ecosystem development” were a key component of this paper’s legacy: The framework was referenced in 62.0{\%} and tested in 28.7{\%} of 1598 citing papers we examined. Although we found that support for Odum’s framework grew over time, support for any particular prediction was inconsistent, highlighting the unresolved nature of some of the framework’s principles. Odum’s conceptual framework for ecosystem studies—as well as his forward-thinking attempts to connect ecosystem ecology with humans and society—continues to be pertinent to current and future research frontiers. Simplicity of the framework was its strength, and major limitation, painting ecosystem functioning in broad strokes, with no acknowledgement about interactions among the predictions. Newer generations have their work cut out for them by bridging evolutionary biology and ecosystem science or metabolic theory and ecological stoichiometry. Similarly, newer generations are using Odum’s multidisciplinary approach to address the most pressing global change issues and designing solutions that make the Earth life sustaining system compatible with growing human demands.",
keywords = "bibliographic analysis, classic papers, ecological systems, ecosystem science, human dimensions, Odum, research frontiers, succession",
author = "Corman, {Jessica R.} and Collins, {Scott L.} and Cook, {Elizabeth M.} and Xiaoli Dong and Gherardi, {Laureano A.} and Nancy Grimm and Hale, {Rebecca L.} and Tao Lin and Jorge Ramos and Reichmann, {Lara G.} and Osvaldo Sala",
year = "2019",
month = "8",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1007/s10021-018-0316-3",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "22",
pages = "1160--1172",
journal = "Ecosystems",
issn = "1432-9840",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Foundations and Frontiers of Ecosystem Science

T2 - Legacy of a Classic Paper (Odum 1969)

AU - Corman, Jessica R.

AU - Collins, Scott L.

AU - Cook, Elizabeth M.

AU - Dong, Xiaoli

AU - Gherardi, Laureano A.

AU - Grimm, Nancy

AU - Hale, Rebecca L.

AU - Lin, Tao

AU - Ramos, Jorge

AU - Reichmann, Lara G.

AU - Sala, Osvaldo

PY - 2019/8/15

Y1 - 2019/8/15

N2 - Ecosystem ecology, like all scientific disciplines, is often propelled forward by “classic” papers that identify key concepts within the field and define the core questions for generations of scientists. Here, we examine the legacy and sustained impact of a paper long considered a classic in ecology, E.P. (Gene) Odum’s 1969 “The strategy of ecosystem development.” Odum’s paper presented testable predictions about species diversity, energy flow, and biogeochemical dynamics during ecosystem succession and provided guiding principles for environmental conservation and management. Odum’s 24 predictions on “ecosystem development” were a key component of this paper’s legacy: The framework was referenced in 62.0% and tested in 28.7% of 1598 citing papers we examined. Although we found that support for Odum’s framework grew over time, support for any particular prediction was inconsistent, highlighting the unresolved nature of some of the framework’s principles. Odum’s conceptual framework for ecosystem studies—as well as his forward-thinking attempts to connect ecosystem ecology with humans and society—continues to be pertinent to current and future research frontiers. Simplicity of the framework was its strength, and major limitation, painting ecosystem functioning in broad strokes, with no acknowledgement about interactions among the predictions. Newer generations have their work cut out for them by bridging evolutionary biology and ecosystem science or metabolic theory and ecological stoichiometry. Similarly, newer generations are using Odum’s multidisciplinary approach to address the most pressing global change issues and designing solutions that make the Earth life sustaining system compatible with growing human demands.

AB - Ecosystem ecology, like all scientific disciplines, is often propelled forward by “classic” papers that identify key concepts within the field and define the core questions for generations of scientists. Here, we examine the legacy and sustained impact of a paper long considered a classic in ecology, E.P. (Gene) Odum’s 1969 “The strategy of ecosystem development.” Odum’s paper presented testable predictions about species diversity, energy flow, and biogeochemical dynamics during ecosystem succession and provided guiding principles for environmental conservation and management. Odum’s 24 predictions on “ecosystem development” were a key component of this paper’s legacy: The framework was referenced in 62.0% and tested in 28.7% of 1598 citing papers we examined. Although we found that support for Odum’s framework grew over time, support for any particular prediction was inconsistent, highlighting the unresolved nature of some of the framework’s principles. Odum’s conceptual framework for ecosystem studies—as well as his forward-thinking attempts to connect ecosystem ecology with humans and society—continues to be pertinent to current and future research frontiers. Simplicity of the framework was its strength, and major limitation, painting ecosystem functioning in broad strokes, with no acknowledgement about interactions among the predictions. Newer generations have their work cut out for them by bridging evolutionary biology and ecosystem science or metabolic theory and ecological stoichiometry. Similarly, newer generations are using Odum’s multidisciplinary approach to address the most pressing global change issues and designing solutions that make the Earth life sustaining system compatible with growing human demands.

KW - bibliographic analysis

KW - classic papers

KW - ecological systems

KW - ecosystem science

KW - human dimensions

KW - Odum

KW - research frontiers

KW - succession

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85070668842&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85070668842&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10021-018-0316-3

DO - 10.1007/s10021-018-0316-3

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85070668842

VL - 22

SP - 1160

EP - 1172

JO - Ecosystems

JF - Ecosystems

SN - 1432-9840

IS - 5

ER -