The Google Ngram viewer lets you search Google’s huge corpus of scanned English-language books for mentions of any word or phrase. It’s a fun way to track the rise and fall of words, people, and ideas.
Below are the results you get if you search on various subfields of ecology: population ecology, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, evolutionary ecology, behavioral ecology, physiological ecology, landscape ecology, and restoration ecology. Click the image for a larger version.
Apparently, none of these subfields existed before 1945. And landscape ecology replaced population ecology as the most popular field of ecology in 1996. And physiological ecology has been slowly dying since about 1990. At least in book form. You can totally tell all that just from eyeballing ngrams, right? 😉
While I haven’t shown it, “ecology” shows up far more than any subfield, not surprisingly.
I looked at “macroecology” too, but I didn’t have the heart to include the results, because Brian would find them too depressing. 😉
Playing with Google Ngrams is one of the world’s great timewasters. Don’t click through if you’re trying to have a productive day!