“The Forest and the Sea,” Marston Bates, and Ecology (edited)

The line http://ensmble.net/track/the-study-of-life introduces us to a four-minute snippet to the “The Study of Life” from the album, “The Forest and the Sea,” by the Spanish musician Pyrenees.

The snippet above is intended to interpret a portion of “The Forest and the Sea,” a book on ecology written by Dr. Marston Bates fifty-five years ago. It’s free and you may copy it.  You may buy the album for one euro or for any donation you may choose to make.  What inspired the writer of the musical piece was the purchase of Marston’s book for one pound in London a few years ago.

As many of you know, I have tried my best to limit my subject matter to things of interest, some architecture, some art, a lot of community history, and even more about the inland waterways because my book and this website (I dislike the word blog) are about the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as some canals and inland waterways throughout the world in such places as France, England, Belgium, and The Netherlands.  My allusion to Alfred Browning Parker’s emphasis on the importance of “Ecology” in 1966 in the last posting motivated me to take this little detour.  This musing is a special delight to me.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I did in putting it together. I must thank one of our loyal audience, Kay Larche, a committed environmentalist for pushing me in this direction.

Dr. Marston Bates, in his study at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Dr. Marston Bates, in his study at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Pyrenees’s album is a musIcal interpretation of “The Forest and the Sea,” by Dr. Marston Bates (1906-1974), acclaimed zoologist and early ecologist.  Marston’s book, one of dozens written during his career, was penned to be an academic but popular comparison of the distinct ecologies of the forest and the sea.

I first became acquainted with Marston’s life and works when I served as president of the Fort Lauderdale  Historical  Society (2001-2005).  I was rummaging through the Historical Society’s Library one Saturday when suddenly I saw several books on our shelves written  by Dr. Marston Bates.

Now I knew that Marston’s father, Glenn, had been a conductor of the small Fort Lauderdale Orchestra in the early 1900’s and probably a music teacher and school band leader when Fort Lauderdale (Central) High School opened in 1913.  Glenn’s ‘rag-tag’ city orchestra of older musicians played in the open air during the tourist season where Las Olas Riverfront is located, at the end of Brickell Avenue along the New River.  A research center in Birch State Park bears Glenn’s name.  Marston graduated from Fort Lauderdale High (Central) School in its early years.  He married Nancy Bell Fairchild, daughter of botanist David Fairchild of Fairchild Tropical Gardens, and granddaughter of Alexander Graham Bell.  Marston graduated from the University of Florida (1927), and later obtained his master’s (1933) and doctoral (1934) degrees in zoology from Harvard University.

He served as chair of the department of zoology at the University of Michigan where he taught zoology for the last twenty years of his teaching career (1952-1971), retiring because of illness at age sixty-five. Earlier in his career he studied the mosquito when he worked for the Rockefeller Foundation in a number of countries, including Italy and France in 1935. Marston lived for at least a year each in places like Albania, Colombia, Egypt, even an atoll in the South Pacific, continued studies elsewhere and during extended sabbaticals from different universities. His contributions to an understanding of the mosquito helped lead to the eradication of malaria and yellow fever. Marston was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1958.

I’ve  saved the most interesting for last. The last is an audibly clear recording of a lecture, one-hour long, given by Dr. Bates on December 12, 1955, in the auditorium of the New York Academy of Medicine and broadcast by WNYC educational radio for a series entitled,”Lectures to the Laity.”   Dr. Marston’s topic: “The Ecology of Health.” Follow this link:   http://www.wnyc.org/story/the-ecology-of-health/.  And press the blue button. Withal, Dr. Bates never forgot us.  Dr. Marston Bates was one of the founding trustees of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, Inc., chartered in 1962.

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