Wilson , Edward Osborne
(1929–) American entomologist, ecologist, and sociobiologist
Wilson, who was born in Birmingham, Alabama, graduated in biology from the University of Alabama in 1949 and obtained his PhD from Harvard in 1955. He joined the Harvard faculty the following year, becoming professor in 1964 and curator of entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1971.
Much of Wilson's entomological work was with ants and other social insects and was comprehensively surveyed in his massiveInsect Societies (1971). He has also worked on speciation and with William Brown introduced the term ‘character displacement’ to describe the process that frequently takes place when closely related species that have previously been isolated begin to overlap in distribution. The differences that do exist between the species become exaggerated to avoid competition and hybridization.
Wilson collaborated with Robert MacArthur in developing a theory on the equilibrium of island populations from which emerged their Theory of Island Biogeography (1967). To test such ideas Wilson conducted a number of remarkable experiments with Daniel Simberloff in the Florida Keys. They selected six small mangrove clumps and made a survey of the number of insect species present. They then fumigated the islands to eliminate all the 75 insect species found. Careful monitoring over the succeeding months revealed that the islands had been recolonized by the same number of species, thus confirming the prediction that “a dynamic equilibrium number of species exists for any island.”
It was, however, with his Sociobiology (1975) that Wilson emerged as a controversial and household name. He argued that “a single strong thread does indeed run from the conduct of termite colonies and turkey brotherhoods to the social behavior of man.” Using the arguments of William Hamilton and Robert Trivers, Wilson had little difficulty in showing the deep biological and genetic control exercised over many apparently altruistic acts in insects, birds, and mammals. He also proposed plausible mechanisms to explain much of the social behavior and organization of many species. Many believe, however, that he is on very shaky ground when he extends such arguments to human social evolution. Wilson has continued to produce a large number of popular, personal, and technical works. Among these are a work on ecology, The Diversity of Life (1992); his Pulitzer prize-winning The Ants (1988, written in collaboration with B. Hölldobler); and his revealing autobiography, Naturalist (1994).

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Уилсон Эдвард Осборн / Wilson, Edward Osborne — (p. 1929). Согласно социобилогии Уилсона, человек является машиной для обеспечения бессмертия генов. Он утверждал, что люди существуют исключительно ради своих генов: «Живой организм это всего лишь способ ДНК создавать больше ДНК» …   Психологическая энциклопедия

  • Edward Osborne Wilson — oder kurz E. O. Wilson (* 10. Juni 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama) ist ein US amerikanischer Insektenkundler und Biologe, der für seine Beiträge zur Evolutionstheorie und Soziobiologie bekannt ist. Wilsons Spezialg …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edward Osborne Wilson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Edward Wilson et Wilson. Edward Osborne Wilson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Edward Osborne Wilson — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Edward Osborne Wilson …   Wikipedia Español

  • Wilson, Edward O. — ▪ 1996       A worldwide erosion of biological diversity is occurring that bodes ill for the Earth s remaining inhabitants so warned Harvard University biologist Edward Osborne Wilson, 1995 winner of the Audubon Medal for contributions to… …   Universalium

  • Edward Osborne Wilson — noun United States entomologist who has generalized from social insects to other animals including humans (born in 1929) • Syn: ↑Wilson, ↑E. O. Wilson • Instance Hypernyms: ↑entomologist, ↑bugologist, ↑bug hunter …   Useful english dictionary

  • Edward O. Wilson — Edward Osborne Wilson Edward Osborne Wilson oder kurz E. O. Wilson (* 10. Juni 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama) ist ein US amerikanischer Insektenkundler und Biologe, der für seine Beiträge zur Evolutionstheorie und Soziobiologie bekannt ist. Wilsons …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edward O. Wilson — Edward Osborne Wilson Pour les articles homonymes, voir Edward Wilson et Wilson. Edward Osborne Wilson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Edward — /ed weuhrd/, n. 1. Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall ( The Black Prince ), 1330 76, English military leader (son of Edward III). 2. Lake, a lake in central Africa, between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo: a source of the Nile.… …   Universalium

  • Wilson — /wil seuhn/, n. 1. Sir Angus (Frank Johnstone) /jon steuhn, seuhn/, 1913 91, English writer. 2. August, born 1945, U.S. playwright. 3. Charles Thomson Rees /tom seuhn rees/, 1869 1959, Scottish physicist: Nobel prize 1927. 4. Edmund, 1895 1972, U …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”