For History Geeks

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Two days ago, I used this image in a scientific talk: 

HutchinsonTree.jpg

From Edmondson 1971, it depicts the "phylogenetic tree" of the famous ecologist G. E. Hutchinson. Branches on the tree represent Hutchinson's doctoral students, with subsequent generations represented by further branching. Many iconic names appear on this tree, such as the legendary Gordon Riley, who designed what is now the canonical theory for ocean ecosystems. I was not surprised to discover later that members of my audience belonged on the tree as well, if further branches were to be drawn. 

I was discussing this matter with Jeff Runge--who advised much of my Ph.D. work, and who is, himself, tangled in the many branches of this tree. Having difficulty reading the digital version, we decided to dig up the original paper from Jeff's old bound copies of Limnology and Oceanography, which he inherited from another zooplankton ecologist. Flipping through the dusty tomes, with pages marked by folded corners and scraps of toilet paper, the book suddenly sprung open to the very page we sought. There, marking the page, was a letter from Gordon Riley himself, discussing the Festschrift honoring Hutchinson.

RileyLetterSmall.jpg

Jeff kindly allowed me to keep this priceless historical artifact. 

-Nick Record, signing off   

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Record published on May 9, 2012 7:58 PM.

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