George M. Woodwell is an American biologist. He has conducted research in numerous fields of both biology and ecology.Woodwell was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1928. Spending summers in rural Maine led to his love and
understanding of biology. He received a bachelor's degree in zoology from Dartmouth College in 1950. After three years of naval service, he returned to school, this time to Duke University, where he earned a master's degree and then a doctorate.
Woodwell taught at the University of Maine and, subsequently, at Yale University. He also worked as a senior ecologist at the Brookhaven National
Laboratory. Here he carried out research on environmental toxins and began to develop a reputation as a nonconformist. In 1975, he founded the Woods Hole Research Center, which remains famous for its ecological studies.
Woodwell has worked in many fields of environmental science. He has done a great deal of research on the effects of toxins on the environment. In one of his studies, he tested the effect of radioactive exposure on a sample space of
forest and discovered that the destruction of an ecosystem took far less time than the time required to rebuild it. Woodwell has also studied the greenhouse effect and the problems of population growth. He has written articles for many magazines both scientific and popular, doing so because he feels that it is imperative to keep the public aware and involved in the salvation of the planet.
Woodwell also worked with the Conservation Foundation (now part of the World Wildlife Fund) to study the horrific effects of the pesticide DDT on the environment. He was one of the first to take legal action against its producers, a move that led to its ban in 1972.
Woodwell is a member of several important scientific organizations, including the Ecological Society of America, the National Academy of Sciences, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resource Defense Council. At present, he is actively involved in investigating nuclear emissions and their effect on the environment.
An audio interview with George Woodwell