Lawrence B. Slobodkin, Pioneering Ecologist, Dies at 81
Lawrence B. Slobodkin, a central figure in the development of ecology as a modern science and a co-author of one of its most inspiring inquiries, a paper known informally as “The World Is Green,” died on Friday at his home in Old Field, [New York, USA]. He was 81.
The cause was heart failure, said his wife, Tamara Slobodkin.
Dr. Slobodkin, a professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is credited with helping to transform ecology from a largely descriptive discipline to one using quantitative data to test theoretical and conceptual models of nature.
Joseph Travis, an evolutionary ecologist at Florida State University, called Dr. Slobodkin “a giant in ecology” and added, “He was a pioneer in blending mathematical reasoning and empirical observations.”
With what colleagues described as a wide-ranging intellect and restless curiosity, Dr. Slobodkin built a diverse body of work not easily characterized. Over the decades, he asked questions that included the applied (what causes red tides?) to the quirky (why are some animals known as hydra green and others brown?) to the vast (how does energy move through entire ecosystems?). As a result, Dr. Slobodkin’s impact remains broadly felt. Read ArticleBy Carol Kaesuk Yoon