Happy birthday Humboldt

On the 250th anniversary of his birth, we extend an invitation to the whole ecology and evolution community to share their thoughts on what the legacy of Alexander von Humboldt means to them.

Go to the profile of Simon Harold
Sep 07, 2019
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September 14th 2019 will mark 250 years since the birth of Alexander von Humboldt, a pioneering explorer-naturalist who changed the way we think about the natural world. Inspired by his holistic view of the interconnectedness of natural systems, we have compiled a collection of articles from across six Nature journals, and an Editorial outlining what we can still learn from his travels in Latin America with his friend and botanist Aimé Bonpland.

Humboldt was arguably the first person to sound the alarm on the dangers of human-induced climate change and land use to biodiversity, and as the scale of destruction in the Amazon and elsewhere becomes increasing apparent, it is clear that there is still much to do to continue his legacy.

In this light, we’d love to know how his influence has extended into modern ecology and evolution, and so here we also collate viewpoints from researchers all over the world who have been inspired or influenced by his work. We invite anyone who would like to contribute to please get in contact and sign up to our community pages if you’d like to have your say—we particularly encourage contributions from Latin America, where so many of his ideas were first forged.

Some celebrations have already been underway, for example in the International Biogeography Society’s Special Humboldt anniversary meeting held in Ecuador last month, and special events are planned in his hometown of Berlin, and elsewhere across the world. We look forward to joining in with them!

 

Further reading:

Nature Books and Arts: Alexander von Humboldt: the graphic novel

Alison Abbott applauds an illustrated treatment of the great Prussian naturalist’s scientific exploits in South America.

Go to the profile of Simon Harold

Simon Harold

Senior Editor, Nature Ecology and Evolution

Simon joined Nature Communications as Associate Editor for ecology in 2014, having previously managed journals in ecology, genetics and plant biology as Executive Editor for the BMC series. He joined the launch team of Nature Ecology & Evolution in 2016. Prior to his doctoral studies, Simon worked on research projects at Cardiff University, NERC Centre for Population Biology and University of Manchester encompassing fungal biology, community ecology and developmental morphometrics. He obtained his PhD from University of Leeds investigating the spatial ecology of host-natural enemy interactions, in collaboration with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford.

2 Comments

Go to the profile of Gao Jianguo
Gao Jianguo 2 months ago

I found the collections are all fabulous!

On his birthday,  Peking University will hold an academic seminar of biogeography to celebrate.

Stay tued.

Go to the profile of Maria Amélia Martins-Loução

This is fabulous since it was also in the same date, precisely that Ernst van Haeckel defined Ecology. And we always considered Humboldt as the father of Ecology.

Since 2016, after the ceremony in EU Parliament of the 150th year of that definition, SPECO (Portuguese Society of Ecology) has launched that day as the Ecology Day. The idea now is to spread all over the world numerous activities for people understand the role of ecology and ecologists in these changing biosphere.