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Ramon Margalef : biography

16 May 1919 - 23 May 2004

Ramon Margalef i López (Barcelona 16 May 1919 - 23 May 2004, aged 85) was Emeritus Professor of Ecology at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona. Margalef, one of the most prominent scientists that Spain has produced,Ros, J.D. (2004) In memory of Ramon Margalef (1919-2004). International Microbiology 7: 229-232] worked at the Institute of Applied Biology (1946–1951), and at the Fisheries Research Institute, which he directed during 1966-1967. He created the Department of Ecology of the University of Barcelona, from where he trained a huge number of ecologists, limnologists and oceanographers. In 1967 he became Spain's first professor of ecology.

In the late 1950s, with the translation into English of his inaugural lecture as a member of the Barcelona Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences "Information Theory in Ecology", he gained a worldwide audience. Another groundbreaking article, "On certain unifying principles in ecology", published in American Naturalist in 1963, and his book "Perspectives in Ecological Theory" (1968), based on his guest lectures at the University of Chicago, consolidated him as one of the leading thinkers of modern ecology. In the summer of 1958 he was professor of Marine ecology at the Institute of Marine Biology (currently Department of Marine Sciences) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and produced the work Comunidades Naturales.

Some of his most important work includes the application of Information Theory to ecological studies and the creation of mathematical models for the study of populations. Among his books, the most influential are: Natural Communities (1962), Perspectives In Ecological Theory (1968), Ecology (1974), The Biosphere (1980), Limnology (1983) and Theory of Ecological Systems (1991). He received many scientific awards, including the first edition of the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science, the Naumann-Thienemann Medal from the International Society of Limnology (SIL), the Ramón y Cajal Award of the Spanish Government, and the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia (Catalan Government).


Selected publications

  • Margalef R. 1960. Ideas for a synthetic approach to the ecology of running waters. Int. Rev. ges. Hydrobiol., 45: 133-153.
  • Margalef R. 1962. Comunidades naturales. Instituto de Biología Marina de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Mayagüez. 469 pp.
  • Margalef R. 1963. On certain unifying principles in ecology. Am. Nat., 97: 357-374.
  • Margalef R. 1968. Perspectives in ecological theory. University of Chicago Press. 111 pp.
  • Margalef R. 1974. Ecología. Omega, Barcelona.
  • Margalef R., Planas M.D., Armengol J., Vidal A., Prat N., Guisset A., Toja J., Estrada M. 1976. Limnología de los embalses españoles. Dirección General de Obras Hidraúlicas, Madrid.
  • Margalef R. 1978. Life-forms of phytoplankton as survival alternatives in an unstable environment. Oceanol. Acta 1: 493-509.
  • Margalef R. 1980. La biosfera: entre la termodinámica y el juego. Ed. Omega, Barcelona. 236 pp.
  • Margalef R. 1983. Limnología. Omega, Barcelona.
  • Margalef R. 1992. Planeta azul, planeta verde. Prensa Científica SA. Barcelona. 265 pp.
  • Margalef R. 1994. Limnology now: a paradigm of planetary problems. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Margalef R. 1997. Our biosphere. Ecology Institute, Oldendorf.
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