The National Park Service has published online two new videos about parks that have played important roles in the history of science. One features Everglades National Park, where Dan Simberloff conducted an experiment 50 years ago that tested MacArthur & Wilson’s model for why islands of different sizes and distances contain different numbers of species. The experiment and model are now iconic and have been widely influential in ecology and conservation biology. The other features Indiana Dunes National Park where, in the 1890s, Henry Cowles conducted the first field studies of plant succession (how species of plants replace each other over time, as when a field converts to a forest). Succession has been one of the central and most enduring concepts in all of ecology ever since.
Robert Boyd, a graduate student filmmaker at the American University, produced these videos as part of his MFA with funding through the Chesapeake Watershed CESU.