, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 97–122 | Cite as

Robert H. Whittaker (1920–1980): The man and his work

  • W. E. Westman
  • R. K. Peet


R. H. Whittaker enlivened many fields within ecology, systematics and evolution with his insights. Perhaps his most significant contributions to ecology lie in the development of the theories and methods of gradient analysis. Through the verification of the individualistic hypothesis with field data from many regions, and the subsequent development and dissemination of methods for studying species distributions along continua, he helped replace the Clementsian paradigm with a Gleasonian one. His extensive field data on primary production, nutrient cycling patterns and species diversity established new standards for documentation in synecology and helped clarify the basis for site-to-site variation in these variables. Through his broad command of the ecological literature, his writings and his contact with ecologists throughout the world he fostered international understanding of the diversity of approaches to vegetation study.


Community ecology Gradient analysis History of ecology Ordination Species diversity Vegetation Whittaker 


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Appendix: Publications of Robert H. Whittaker

  1. 1948 Whittaker, R. H. A. vegetation analysis of the Great Smoky Mountains. Dissertation, University of Illinois, Department of Zoology.Google Scholar
  2. 1951 WhittakerR. H. A criticism of the plant association and climatic climax concepts. Northwest Sci. 26: 17–31.Google Scholar
  3. 1952 WhittakerR. H. A study of summer foliage insect communities in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecol. Monogr. 22: 1–44.Google Scholar
  4. 1953 WhittakerR. H. A consideration of climax theory: The climax as a population and pattern. Ecol. Monogr. 23: 41–78.Google Scholar
  5. 1954a. WhittakerR. H. Plant populations and the basis of plant indication. (German summ.) Angew. Pflanzensoziol. (Wien), Festschr. Aichinger 1; 183–206.Google Scholar
  6. 1954b. WhittakerR. H. The ecology of serpentine soils. I. Introduction. Ecology 35: 258–259.Google Scholar
  7. 1954c. WhittakerR. H. The ecology of serpentine soils. IV. The vegetational response to serpentine soils. Ecology 35: 275–288.Google Scholar
  8. 1956a. WhittakerR. H. Vegetation of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecol. Monogr. 26: 1–80.Google Scholar
  9. 1956b. WhittakerR. H. In honor of Erwin Aichinger. Review of Festschrift für Erwin Aichinger zum 60 Geburtstag. 1954. Ecology 37: 396–397.Google Scholar
  10. 1956c. WhittakerR. H. A new Indian Ecological Journal. Review of Bulletin of the Indian Council of Ecological Research, Vol. 1. Ecology 37: 628.Google Scholar
  11. 1957a. WhittakerR. H. Recent evolution of ecological concepts in relation to the eastern forests of North America. Am. J. Bot. 44: 197–206. Reprinted in, Fifty Years of Botany: Golden Jubilee Volume of the Botanical Society of America, W. C. Steere, ed., p. 340–358. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1958.Google Scholar
  12. 1957b. WhittakerR. H. The Kingdoms of the living world. Ecology 38: 536–538.Google Scholar
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  15. 1958a. WhittakerR. H. & R. W.Fairbanks. A study of plankton copepod communities in the Columbia Basin, southeastern Washington. Ecology 39: 46–65. Reprinted in, Readings in Population and Community Ecology, W. E. Hazen, ed., p. 369-388. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1964.Google Scholar
  16. 1958b. WhittakerR. H. A manual of phytosociology. Review of Bharucha, F. R. and W. C. de Leeuw, 1957. A practical guide to plant sociology for foresters and agriculturalists. Ecology 39: 182.Google Scholar
  17. 1958c. WhittakerR. H. The Pergamon Institute and Russian journals of ecology. Ecology 39: 182–183.Google Scholar
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  19. 1960a. WhittakerR. H. Ecosystem.In McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, p. 404–408. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
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  21. 1960c. WhittakerR. H. A vegetation bibliography for the northeastern states. Review of F. E. Egler. 1959. A cartographic guide to selected regional vegetation literature—where plant communities have been described. Ecology 41: 245–246.Google Scholar
  22. 1961a. WhittakerR. H. Estimation of net primary production of forest and shrub communities. Ecology 42: 177–180.Google Scholar
  23. 1961b. WhittakerR. H. Experiments with radiophosphorus tracer in aquarium microcosms. Ecol. Monogr. 31: 157–188.Google Scholar
  24. 1961c. WhittakerR. H. Vegetation history of the Pacific Coast states and the ‘central’ significance of the Klamath Region. Madroño 16: 5–23.Google Scholar
  25. 1961d. WhittakerR. H. New Serials. Ecology 42: 616.Google Scholar
  26. 1962a. WhittakerR. H. Classification of natural communities. Bot. Rev. 28: 1–239. Reprinted by Arno Press, New York, 1977.Google Scholar
  27. 1962b. WhittakerR. H. Net production relations of shrubs in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecology 43: 357–377.Google Scholar
  28. 1962c. WhittakerR. H. & V.Garfine. Leaf characteristics and chlorophyll in relation to exposure and production in Rhododendron maximum. Ecology 43: 120–125.Google Scholar
  29. 1962d. WhittakerR. H. The pine-oak woodland community. Review of J. T. Marshall. 1957. Birds of pine-oak woodland in southern Arizona and adjacent Mexico. Ecology 43: 180–181.Google Scholar
  30. 1963a. NieringW. A., R. H.Whittaker & C. H.Lowe. The saguaro: A population in relation to environment. Science 142(3588): 15–23.Google Scholar
  31. 1963b. WhittakerR. H. Essays on enchanted islands. Review of the Enchanted Voyage and Other Studies, by G. E. Hutchinson. Ecology 44: 425.Google Scholar
  32. 1963c. WhittakerR. H. Net production of heath balds and forest heaths in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecology 44: 176–182.Google Scholar
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  39. 1966a. WhittakerR. H. Forest dimensions and production in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecology 47: 103–121.Google Scholar
  40. 1966b. Woodwell, G. M., W. M. Malcolm & R. H. Whittaker. A-boms, bugbombs, and us. NAS-NRC Symposium on ‘The Scientific Aspects of Pest Control’, by the Brookhaven National Laboratory, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.Google Scholar
  41. 1967a. WhittakerR. H. Ecological implications of weather modification.In Ground Level Climatology, R. H.Shaw, ed., p. 367–384. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, Publ. 86.Google Scholar
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  44. 1967d. WoodwellG. M. & R. H.Whittaker. Primary production and the cation budget of the Brookhaven forest. Symposium on Primary Productivity and Mineral Cycling in Natural Ecosystems, H. E.Young, ed., p. 151–166. University of Maine Press, Orono.Google Scholar
  45. 1968a. FrydmanI. & R. H.Whittaker. Forest associations of southeast Lublin Province, Poland. (German summ.) Ecology 49: 896–908.Google Scholar
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  48. 1968d. WhittakerR. H. & W. A.Niering. Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. IV. Limestone and acid soils. J. Ecol. 56: 523–544.Google Scholar
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  52. 1969a. WhittakerR. H. A view toward a National Institute of Ecology. Ecology 50: 169–170.Google Scholar
  53. 1969b. WhittakerR. H. Een nieuwe indeling van de organismen. Natuur en Techniek 37: 124–132.Google Scholar
  54. 1969c. Whittaker, R. H. Evolution of diversity in plant communities.In Diversity and Stability in Ecological Systems, Brookhaven Symposia in Biology, No. 22, p. 178–195.Google Scholar
  55. 1969d. WhittakerR. H. New concepts of kingdoms of organisms. Science 163(3863): 150–160.Google Scholar
  56. 1969e. WhittakerR. H. & G. M.Woodwell. Structure, production, and diversity of the oakpine forest at Brookhaven, New York. J. Ecol. 57: 155–174.Google Scholar
  57. 1970a. BormannF. H., T. G.Siccama, G. E.Likens & R. H.Whittaker. The Hubbard Brook ecosystem study: Composition and dynamics of the tree stratum. Ecol. Monogr. 40: 373–388.Google Scholar
  58. 1970b. BrownW. L.Jr., T.Eisner & R. H.Whittaker. Allomones and kairomones: Transspecific chemical messengers. Bio-Science 20: 21–22.Google Scholar
  59. 1970c. WhittakerR. H. Communities and Ecosystems. Maemillan, New York, xi + 162 pp. Reprinted in Japanese edition, Tokyo, 1974.Google Scholar
  60. 1970d. WhittakerR. H. Neue Einteilung der Organismenreiche. Umschau 16: 514–515.Google Scholar
  61. 1970c. WhittakerR. H. Taxonomy.In McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science and Technology 1970, p. 365–369. McGraw-Hill, New-York.Google Scholar
  62. 1970f. WhittakerR. H. The biochemical ecology of higher plants.In Chemical Ecology, E.Sondheimer and J. B.Simeone, eds., p. 43–70. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  63. 1970g. WhittakerR. H. The population structure of vegetation.In Gesellschaftsmorphologie (Strukturforschung), (German summ.), R.Tüxen, ed., p. 39–62. Ber. Symp. Int. Ver. Vegetationskunde, Rinteln, 1966. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  64. 1970h. WoodwellG. M. & R. H.Whittaker. Ionizing radiation and the structure and functions of forests.In Gesellschaftsmorphologie (Strukturforschung), (German summ.), R.Tüxen (ed.), p. 334–339. Ber. Symp. Int. Ver. Vegetationskunde, Rinteln, 1966. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  65. 1971a. WhittakerR. H. & P. P.Feeny. Allelochemics: Chemical interactions between species. Science 171 (3473): 757–770.Google Scholar
  66. 1971b. WhittakerR. H. & G. M.Woodwell. Evolution of natural communities.In Ecosystem Structure and Function, Proceedings of the 31 st Annual Biology Colloquium, J. A.Wiens, ed., p. 137–156. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis.Google Scholar
  67. 1971c. WhittakerR. H. & G. M.Woodwell. Measurement of net primary production of forests. Reprintedin Productivity of Forest Ecosystems (French summ.), Proceedings of the Brussels Symposium, 1969. P.Duvigneaud, ed., p. 159–175. Unesco, Paris.Google Scholar
  68. 1971d. BrussardP. F., S. A.Levin, L. N.Miller & R. H.Whittaker, Redwoods: a population model debunked. Science 175: 435–436.Google Scholar
  69. Whittaker, R. H. Dry weight, surface area, and other data for individuals of three tree species at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.In P. Sollins & R. M. Anderson (eds.), Dry-weight and Other Data for Trees and Woody Shrubs of the Southeastern United States, Oak Ridge National Lab. Pub. ORNL-IBP-71-6, p. 37–38.Google Scholar
  70. Whittaker, R. H. The chemistry of communities.In Biochemical Interactions Among Plants. National Academy of Sciences, p. 10–18.Google Scholar
  71. 1972a. GauchH. G.Jr. & R. H.Whittaker, Coenocline simulation. Ecology 53: 446–451.Google Scholar
  72. 1972b. GauchH. G.Jr. & R. H.Whittaker. Comparison of ordination techniques. Ecology 53: 868–875.Google Scholar
  73. 1972c. WhittakerR. H. Convergences of ordination and classification. ReprintedIn Basic Problems and Methods in Phytosociology (German summ.), Ber. Symp. Int. Ver. Vegetationskunde, Rinteln, 1970, R.Tüxen, ed., p. 39–55. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  74. 1972d. WhittakerR. H. Evolution and measurement of species diversity. Taxon 21: 213–251.Google Scholar
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  76. 1973a. CottamG., F. G.Goff & R. H.Whittaker. Wisconsin comparative ordination.In Ordination and classification of communities, R. H.Whittaker, ed., p. 193–221. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  77. 1973b. WhittakerR. H.. Approaches to classifying vegetation.In Handbook of Vegetation Science, Part V: Ordination and Classification of Vegetation, R. H.Whittaker, ed., p. 325–354. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  78. 1973c. Whittaker, R. H. Community, biological.In Encyclopaedia Britannica, p. 1027–1035. 15th edition.Google Scholar
  79. 1973d. WhittakerR. H. Direct gradient analysis: Results.In Handbook of Vegetation Science, Part V: Ordination and Classification of Vegetation, R. H.Whittaker, ed., p. 35–51. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  80. 1973e. WhittakerR. H. Direct gradient analysis: Techniques.In Handbook of Vegetation Science, Part V: Ordination and Classification of Vegetation, R. H.Whittaker, ed., p. 9–31. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  81. 1973f. WhittakerR. H.. Dominance-types.In Handbook of Vegetation Science, Part V: Ordination and Classification of Vegetation, R. H.Whittaker, ed., p. 389–402. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  82. 1973g. WhittakerR. H., ed. Handbook of Vegetation Science, Part V: Ordination and Classification of Vegetation. Junk, The Hague. 737 pp.Google Scholar
  83. 1973h. WhittakerR. H. Introduction.In Handbook of Vegetation Science, Part V: Ordination and Classification of Vegetation, R. H.Whittaker, ed., p. 1–6. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  84. 1973i. WhittakerR. H. & H. G.GauchJr. Evaluation of ordination techniques.In Handbook of Vegetation Science, Part V: Ordination and Classification of Vegetation, R. H.Whittaker, ed., p. 289–321. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  85. 1973j. WhittakerR. H., S. A.Levin & R. B.Root. Niche, habitat, and ecotope. Am. Nat. 107: 321–338.Google Scholar
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  93. 1975a. LiethH. & R. H.Whittaker (eds.). The Primary Productivity of the Biosphere. Springer-Verlag, New York. 339 pp.Google Scholar
  94. 1975b. WestmanW. E. & R. H.Whittaker. The pygmy forest region of northern California: Studies on biomass and primary productivity. J. Ecol. 62: 493–520.Google Scholar
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  104. 1975l. WoodwellG. M., R. H.Whittaker & R. A.Houghton. Nutrient concentrations in plants in the Brookhaven oak-pine forest. Ecology 56: 318–332.Google Scholar
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  109. 1977b. HanawaltR. B. & R. H.Whittaker. Altitudinal patterns of Na, K, Ca and Mg in soils and plants in the San Jacinto Mountains, California. Soil Sci. 123: 25–36.Google Scholar
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  112. 1977e. WhittakerR. H. Animal effects on plant species diversity.In Vegetation und Fauna, R.Tüxen, ed., p. 409–425. Ber. Symp. Int. Ver. Vegetationskunde, Rinteln, 1976. Cramer, Vaduz.Google Scholar
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  116. 1978a. Noy-MeirI. & R. H.Whittaker. Recent developments in continuous multivariate techniques.In Ordination of Plant Communities, R. H.Whittaker, ed., pp. 337–378. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
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  121. 1978f. WoodwellG. M., R. H.Whittaker, W. A.Reiners, G. E.Likens, C. C.Delwiche & D. B.Botkin. The biota and the world carbon budget. Science 199 (4325): 141–146.Google Scholar
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  123. 1979a. NavehZ. & R. H.Whittaker. Measurements and relationships of plant species diversity in Mediterranean shrublands and woodlands.In Ecological Diversity in Theory and Practice, F.Grassle, G. P.Patil, W.Smith & C.Taillie, eds., p. 219–239. International Co-operative Publishing House, Fairland, Maryland.Google Scholar
  124. 1979b. OlsvigL. S., J. F.Cryan & R. H.Whittaker. Vegetational gradients of the pine plains and barrens of Long Island.In Pine Barrens: Ecosystem and Landscape, R. T. T.Eorman, ed., p. 265–282. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  125. 1979c. SaboS. R. & R. H.Whittaker. Bird niches in a subalpine forest: An indirect ordination. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 76: 1338–1342.Google Scholar
  126. 1979d. ShmidaA. & R. H.Whittaker. Convergent evolution of deserts in the old and new world.In Werden und Vergehen von Pflanzengesellsehaften, O.Wilmanns & R.Tüxen, eds., 437–450. Ber. Symp. Int. Ver. Vegetationskunde, Rinteln, 1978. Cramer, Vaduz.Google Scholar
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  129. 1979g. WhittakerR. H., L. E.Gilbert & J. H.Connell. Analysis of two-phase pattern in a mesquite grassland, Texas. J. Ecol. 67: 935–952.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. Westman
    • 1
  • R. K. Peet
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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