Very sad news: E. C. Pielou has passed away. After earning two PhDs–in mathematics and mathematical ecology–she pioneered multivariate statistics in ecology. Like countless ecologists, I learned multivariate statistics from her classic textbook, The Interpretation of Ecological Data. She wrote several other books on mathematical ecology. Canadian ecologists in particular will feel her loss; she held faculty positions at Queens, Dalhousie, and Lethbridge (that last as a Canada Research Chair), and remained an active environmentalist, naturalist, and nature writer in British Columbia until the end of her life. Among her many awards and honors, she was the second woman to receive the ESA’s Eminent Ecologist Award, in 1986. Fond personal remembrance from Loys Maingon of Comox Valley Nature here.
2016 has been a sad year for ecology–a whole generation of giants is passing on.
UPDATE: In the comments, Meg passes on a link to Jacquelyn Gill’s very nice 2012 piece on E. C. Pielou. Both her piece, and the remembrance linked above, include amusing anecdotes attesting to the value Pielou attached to mathematical rigor and precision. Jacquelyn’s piece also includes detail on Pielou’s remarkable life story, of which I was embarrassingly unaware. She started out as a self-taught amateur in the late 1950s, and was awarded a PhD from the University of London based on papers she’d written on her own without an adviser or supervisory committee.