“… as 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 geology.
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
Most of 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
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.
and Connie Esposito married in 1986.
In 1997 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.
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
size and succession in cutover southern Appalachian forests: an 18 year study of vegetation
dynamics. Plant Ecology 185(2): 299-318.
Bostick, P.E. (1981) Statistical analysis of the Flora of
the Carolinas I. The Carolina
Bostick, P.E. (1977) Dissemination of some Florida plants
by way of commercial peat shipments. Castanea 42(2):
Bostick, P.E. (1971) Vascular plants of Panola Mountain,
Bostick, P.E. (1968) Notes on fungi responsible for the
decay of hickory nuts. Mycologia 60(4):
Bostick, P.E. (1967) A geobotanical
investigation of Chandler Mountain, St. Clair Co., Alabama. Castanea
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