Odum School of Ecology emeritus professor David C. Coleman has written a memoir. Rootin’ in the Rhizosphere: Growing up in Ecosystem Ecology chronicles Coleman’s travels around the world—from New Mexico to New Zealand and Stockholm to Saskatchewan—and shares his experiences as a soil pioneer.
“The book is written as a time capsule, covering over a half century of the very young field of ecology and even younger ecosystems ecology,” he said.
Rootin’ in the Rhizosphere, published in September by Bilbo Books, is Coleman’s most recent publication. He also co-authored Fundamentals of Soil Ecology in 1996 and published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and books during his career. In 2010, Coleman published Big Ecology: The Emergence of Ecosystem Science, a textbook that provides a personal overview of the history and development of the science of ecosystem ecology.
“Dave is a world-renowned expert in soil and ecosystem ecology,” said Sonia Altizer, interim dean of the Odum School of Ecology. “His research provided profound insights into nutrient and energy dynamics in soil, and responses of soil biota to disturbances. Dave’s scholarship and collaboration help to build and expand the field of ecosystem ecology starting in the 1960s, when he arrived at UGA. We’re delighted that he’s sharing his expertise and insight through this memoir.”
Coleman came to UGA in 1965 to work at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, where he used radio isotopes to study how carbon moves through detrital food chains in old fields. In 1972, he accepted a faculty position at Colorado State, spending the next 14 years as senior research ecologist at the U.S. International Biological Program Grassland Biome and professor of zoology and entomology. He returned to UGA in 1985 to join the Institute of Ecology as a research professor and was named a Distinguished Research Professor in 1993.