we sometimes say about ecology, it is the painful elaboration of the obvious..”
Peter Edward Bostick was
born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA) in 1939, and was raised in Birmingham,
Alabama. He graduated from the
University of Alabama in 1961 with a major in biology and a minor in
He earned a M.S. degree at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1964 under the direction of Dr. Albert E.
Radford. The title of Bostick’s thesis
was “A geobotanical
investigation of Chandler Mountain, St. Clair County, Alabama.” (1)
Since I grew up in Alabama, and I was
always interested in geology, too — in fact, I minored in geology all the way
through undergraduate and graduate school, and I currently teach geology — I
chose a small mountain near Gadsden, Alabama, that was well mapped
geologically, and I wrote a thesis that had to do with the correlation of the
plant life with the underlying rock structures—sort of geo-botanical
correlations. There is a very strong correlation. You can predict what kind
of plants are going to be growing if you know the geology. And vice versa, if
you know the kind of plants, you can predict that there’s limestone or
Bostick’s specimens deposited at NCU date from this work in Alabama. With approximately 10% of NCU’s estimated
750,000 vascular plants databased, 185 of Bostick’s Alabama specimens have been
catalogued; no doubt many more will be found.
earned a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966
under the direction of C. Ritchie Bell.
The title of his doctorate thesis was “A systematic study of the genus
Rhexia,” and vouchers for that
study are housed at NCU. (1)
taught at Emory University for five years then joined the faculty of Kennesaw
Junior College in Marietta, Georgia (USA).
Kennesaw College became a four year institution in 1976, and Bostick was
promoted to full professor in 1978.
The institution became Kennesaw State College in 1988, and by the
mid-1990’s it became Kennesaw State University. (3)
Connie Esposito married in 1986.
Bostick won the Distinguished Teaching Award at Kennesaw State
University. “I think I was
interdisciplinary long before it was popular,” says Bostick.
One thing I try to do a lot in the
classroom is to try to make connections between science and other areas… I’m
always trying to point out the similarities between ecology and economics,
for example. There are a lot of theoretical stuff and terminology and
so-called laws of economics that apply to ecology, and I’m always trying to
tell students about this kind of stuff and make those connections. I had some
students one time as a directed study work on the shopping mall diversity.
The theory in biology is that as a field goes through what we call
succession—starting from a field and going through pine stage and eventually
ending up in a hardwood forest stage—its diversity increases: the number of
different kinds of creatures increases as you go along. My theory was that
this happens to shopping malls as they age. They start off with just a few
kinds of shops, and as they age, competition drives out some, so that you get
the specialty shops. So older malls should have a lot of different kinds of
shops that don’t compete strongly with each other. (2)
Bostick retired from
Kennesaw State University in 2003, but continues to use his botanical skills
to serve the Bartow County community.
He was one of the first certified Master Gardeners, and served as a
consultant for the Grady Hospital Poison Control Center. In 2006 he was the vice president of the
Friends of the Etowah Indian Mounds as well as serving as the president of
the Pettit Environmental Preserve and on the board of directors of the
Friends of the Library. Ed and Connie
live in a historic home in Cartersville are active members of the Etowah Valley
Historical Society. (2)
Shure, Donald J., Donald L. Phillips and P. Edward Bostick (2006) Gap size and succession in cutover southern
Appalachian forests: an 18 year study
of vegetation dynamics. Plant Ecology
Bostick, P.E. (1981) Statistical analysis
of the Flora of the Carolinas I. The
Carolina spectrum. Castanea
Bostick, P.E. (1977) Dissemination of
some Florida plants by way of commercial peat shipments. Castanea 42(2): 106-108.
Bostick, P.E. (1971) Vascular plants of
Panola Mountain, Georgia. Castanea
Bostick, P.E. (1968) Notes on fungi
responsible for the decay of hickory nuts.
Mycologia 60(4): 978-980.
Bostick, P.E. (1967) A geobotanical
investigation of Chandler Mountain, St. Clair Co., Alabama. Castanea 32(3): 133-154.
1. http://www.lib.unc.edu/biology/theses.html accessed on 30 December 2010
2. http://www.kennesaw.edu/cetl/oralhistories/Ed%20Bostick.pdf accessed on 30 December 2010
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennesaw_State_University accessed on 30 December 2010