Robert Whittaker (ecologist)
   HOME

TheInfoList




Robert Harding Whittaker (December 27, 1920 – October 20, 1980) was an
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or A ...

American
plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel ...

plant
ecologist Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biol ...
, active in the 1950s to the 1970s. He was the first to propose the five kingdom
taxonomic classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mecha ...
of the world's biota into the
Animalia Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

Animalia
,
Plantae Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and included algae and fungi; however, all current definitions ...
,
Fungi A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ...

Fungi
,
Protista A protist () is any eukaryotic Eukaryotes () are organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, M ...
, and
Monera Monera (/məˈnɪərə/) (Greek - μονήρης (monḗrēs), "single", "solitary") is a biological kingdom that is made up of prokaryote A prokaryote () is a single-celled organism A unicellular organism, also known as a single-celled or ...
in 1969.Hagen, Joel B. (2012)
Five kingdoms, more or less: Robert Whittaker and the broad classification of organisms
. ''BioScience'', 62 (1): 67-74.
He also proposed the Whittaker
Biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
Classification, which categorized biome-types upon two abiotic factors: temperature and precipitation. Whittaker was elected to the
National Academy of Science The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a United States nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
in 1974, received the
Ecological Society of America The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a professional organization of ecological scientists. Based in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a ...
's
Eminent Ecologist Award The Eminent Ecologist Award is prize awarded annually to a senior ecologist in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the science of ecology. The prize is awarded by the Ecological Society of America. According to the statutes, the recipient ...
in 1981, and was otherwise widely recognized and honored. He collaborated with many other ecologists including George Woodwell (Dartmouth), W. A. Niering, F. H. Bormann (Yale) and G. E. Likens (Cornell), and was particularly active in cultivating international collaborations.


Early life

Born in
Wichita, Kansas Wichita ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in N ...
, he obtained a
B.A. Bachelor of Arts (BA or AB; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Thro ...
at Washburn Municipal College (now
Washburn University Washburn University (WU) is a public university in Topeka, Kansas, United States. It offers undergraduate and Graduate school, graduate programs, as well as professional programs in law and business. Washburn has 550 faculty members, who teach m ...
) in
Topeka, Kansas Topeka ( ; Kansa language, Kansa: ) is the Capital (political), capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the County seat, seat of Shawnee County, Kansas, Shawnee County. It is along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, i ...
, and, following
military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In th ...
, his
Ph.D. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'' ...
in Biology at the
University of Illinois The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I, Illinois, or colloquially the University of Illinois or UIUC) is a public university, public land-grant university, land-grant research university in Illinois in the twin cities of Champaign ...
.


Career

He held teaching and research positions at
Washington State College Washington State University (Washington State, WSU, or Wazzu) is a Public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university with its flagship, and oldest, campus in Pullman, Washington. Founded in 1890, WSU is also one o ...
in Hanford, Washington,


Family

Whittaker married biochemist Clara Buehl (then a coworker at Hanford Laboratories) in 1952. They had three children. Clara was diagnosed with cancer in 1972. She died December 31, 1976. Whittaker married graduate student Linda Olsvig in 1979. He himself was diagnosed with lung cancer and died October 20, 1980.


Works

*Robert H. Whittaker ''Communities and Ecosystems'', Macmillan, 1975. *Robert H. Whittaker(Ed), ''Classification of Plant Communities, 1978 (Handbook of Vegetation Science)'', Kluwer Academic Publishers,


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Whittaker, Robert Cornell University faculty American ecologists 1920 births 1980 deaths Ecological succession People from Wichita, Kansas Plant ecologists Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences Deaths from lung cancer
Deaths from cancer in New York (state)Deaths from cancer in New York (state), New York. {{CatAutoTOC Deaths from cancer in the United States by state, New York Disease-related deaths in New York (state), Cancer ...
Brooklyn College faculty