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Interview with George Woodwell, May 20, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:40 - Early life and education

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Partial Transcript: So how did your growing up lead you to become an ecologist?

Segment Synopsis: Woodwell talks about growing up on a small farm in Maine, and then going to Dartmouth College to study biology. After graduation he joined the Navy before attending Duke University for graduate school.

Keywords: Doug Wade; Dwight Billings; Harvard; Henry Oosting; mid-Atlantic ridge

00:05:23 - Important career milestones

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Partial Transcript: How do you feel about listing some of the important milestones you see in your career and how they happened to occur?

Segment Synopsis: Woodwell discusses working at the University of Maine, where he studied the effects on DDT in the spruce budworm. He later went to the Brookhaven National Lab in Long Island to study their use of DDT to control mosquitoes and the effects of ionizing radiation. He also talks about the effects humans have on climate change.

Keywords: conservation foundation; ecosystem production; environmental defense fund; food chains; food webs; half-lives; mosquito control commission; systematic impoverishment

00:14:07 - Changes in discipline of ecology

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Partial Transcript: In the years you've been doing ecology of one kind or another, the world has changed.

Segment Synopsis: Woodwell discusses how ecology has changed since he has been active in the field. He talks about issues like contamination and nuclear weapons, and expresses his view that we need to stop using fossil fuels and that government regulations are necessary.

Keywords: Duke; Dwight Billings; Exxon; Hal Mooney; biology; chemistry; communities; ecotypes; industrial waster; nuclear weapons; oil compaines

00:21:02 - Origin of ESA as an organization

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Partial Transcript: So the last set of questions here have to do more with the Ecological Society of America.

Segment Synopsis: Woodwell discusses the idea behind creating the Ecological Society of America (ESA), saying that starting in the 1970s they began to recognize that ecologists have a responsibility to work with the government to protect individuals by providing them with clean water, air, etc. He talks about how he tried to help give ESA a better administrative focus during his presidency, which eventually lead to the opening of ESA's Washington, D.C. office.

Keywords: The Institute of Ecology; Woods Hole Research Center; corporate interests; ecosystems; military interests