Which ecologists and evolutionary biologists from before blogs existed (so, not that long ago!) would’ve made the best bloggers? A few opening bids:
Steven Jay Gould is an obvious pick. And while I disagree with many of his opinions, he totally would’ve been a great blogger. Prolific, opinionated, entertaining.
John Lawton used to have a column in Oikos called “A View From the Park” (because he was based at Imperial College London’s Silwood Park campus). His essays for that column were like lengthy blog posts. “A View from the Park” is part of what inspired me to start blogging, back when I was an editor at Oikos, and I believe it was part of Brian’s inspiration as well.
Similarly, Bob Holt recently did a series of invited essays for an Israeli journal that would’ve worked equally well as blog posts. And of course, it’s not too late for Bob and John to start blogging if the mood strikes them!🙂
On the evidence of this wonderful little essay, John Maynard Smith would’ve been a fine blogger. (I’m presuming that, given the opportunity provided by blogging, he could’ve cranked out this sort of thing on a regular basis.)
As suggested by the comment that inspired this post, Thomas Henry Huxley (“Darwin’s bulldog”) definitely would’ve had a blog, and it would’ve been awesome. (On the other hand, Darwin himself was far too cautious to have been a blogger. He always wanted to be absolutely sure of his ground before he published anything).
Who have I missed?
UPDATE: In the comments and on Twitter, Dan Janzen is a popular suggestion, and rightly so. Indeed, as noted in the comments, he preceded John Lawton in having a column in Oikos, and so in a sense had a blog before blogs existed. R. A. Fisher is another name suggested on Twitter. But while he certainly was capable of eloquent writing, and willing to take controversial positions, he wasn’t always noted for his ability to explain himself clearly. Think of how long it took people to figure out what the heck he was talking about when it came to his “Fundamental Theorem” of natural selection. So I’m not sure if Fisher would’ve been a great blogger or not.