Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Utah State University Faculty Honor Lectures


The Faculty Association and Utah State University Press

Publication Date



An Honor Lecture provides a rare opportunity for me as a scientist. First, I have the chance to share, and in a sense to justify, my chosen and cherished discipline, ecology, before an eclectic audience. Second, I have a reason to consider my profession in a broader perspective than I normally do, given the pressures of day-to-day teaching, of grantsmanship, and of acting the role of stern taskmaster to my graduate students. I relish the opportunity to dabble, with an ecological perspective, in history, in philosophy, and in other areas. First, I will discuss my discipline in the context of science as a whole. These comments will then act as a background for a discussion of my current research about the ecological process of succession. Following this "primer," I will attempt to address the human implications of my work by considering the general nature of disturbance, the initiating force of succession, and the types of man-made or anthropogenic disturbances. Finally, I will offer some suggestions about reconstructing ecosystems following anthropogenic disturbances. Ultimately, I hope my pursuits, which often seem to others to be the esoteric dalliances of a "nature freak," will emerge as part of a highly focused perspective


This work made publicly available electronically on August 5, 2011.