Robert Harding Whittaker
Niering, William A.
Dr. Robert H. Whittaker was born in 1920 in Wichita, Kansas. He received his A. B. from Washburn University and his Ph. D. in Zoology under Charles Kendeigh from the University of Illinois in 1948. He taught at Washington State University, Brooklyn College, the University of California-Irvine and Cornell University where he was Professor of Biology from 1968 until his death. Dr. Whittaker also served as Senior Scientist in the Biological Section, Hanford Laboratory, Washington, from 1951-1954 and was Research Scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1964-1966. His initial ecological research was on the insect communities of the Great Smoky Mountains. In 1956 he introduced ecologists to gradient analysis and his ordination techniques as an approach to the interpretation of vegetation patterns. The Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon and California with their complexity of geological and climatic factors offered an additional challenge to his techniques. It was in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona that I had the opportunity to work with this ecological genius - a man of unlimited energy and drive.