Ramon Margalef

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Ramon Margalef
Ramon Margalef i Lopez.jpg
Ramon Margalef
Born(1919-05-16)16 May 1919
Died23 May 2004(2004-05-23) (aged 85)
Nationality Spanish
Scientific career
Institutions University of Barcelona
Author abbrev. (botany) Margalef

Ramón Margalef i López (Barcelona 16 May 1919 - 23 May 2004) was a Spanish Catalan biologist and ecologist. He was Emeritus Professor of Ecology at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona. Margalef, one of the most prominent scientists that Spain has produced, [1] [2] [3] worked at the Institute of Applied Biology (1946–1951), and at the Fisheries Research Institute, which he directed during 1966-1967. He created the Department of Ecology of the University of Barcelona, from where he trained a huge number of ecologists, limnologists and oceanographers. In 1967 he became Spain's first professor of ecology.

Barcelona City and municipality in Catalonia, Spain

Barcelona is a city in Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighbouring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Madrid, the Ruhr area and Milan. It is one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of which is 512 metres high.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Catalans are an Iberian/European ethnic group of mediterranean and Pyrenean descent, having its roots in the Pyrenees mountains. The only official category of "Catalans" is that of the citizens of Catalonia, an autonomous community in Spain and the inhabitants of the Roussillon historical region in southeast France, today the Pyrénées Orientales departments, also called Catalonia Nord and Pays Catalan in French.


In 1957, with the translation into English of his inaugural lecture as a member of the Barcelona Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, "Information Theory in Ecology", he gained a worldwide audience. Another groundbreaking article, "On certain unifying principles in ecology", published in American Naturalist in 1963, and his book "Perspectives in Ecological Theory" (1968), based on his guest lectures at the University of Chicago, consolidated him as one of the leading thinkers of modern ecology. In the summer of 1958 he was professor of Marine ecology at the Institute of Marine Biology (currently Department of Marine Sciences) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and produced the work Comunidades Naturales ("Natural Communities").

University of Chicago Private research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, the school is located on a 217-acre campus in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, near Lake Michigan. The University of Chicago holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.

Theoretical ecology

Theoretical ecology is the scientific discipline devoted to the study of ecological systems using theoretical methods such as simple conceptual models, mathematical models, computational simulations, and advanced data analysis. Effective models improve understanding of the natural world by revealing how the dynamics of species populations are often based on fundamental biological conditions and processes. Further, the field aims to unify a diverse range of empirical observations by assuming that common, mechanistic processes generate observable phenomena across species and ecological environments. Based on biologically realistic assumptions, theoretical ecologists are able to uncover novel, non-intuitive insights about natural processes. Theoretical results are often verified by empirical and observational studies, revealing the power of theoretical methods in both predicting and understanding the noisy, diverse biological world.

Some of his most important work includes the application of information theory to ecological studies and the creation of mathematical models for the study of populations. Among his books, the most influential are: Natural Communities (1962), Perspectives In Ecological Theory (1968), Ecology (1974), The Biosphere (1980), Limnology (1983) and Theory of Ecological Systems (1991). He received many scientific awards, including the inaugural medal of the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in the Marine Sciences, the Naumann-Thienemann Medal from the International Society of Limnology (SIL), the Ramón y Cajal Award of the Spanish Government, and the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia (Catalan Government).

Information theory studies the quantification, storage, and communication of information. It was originally proposed by Claude Shannon in 1948 to find fundamental limits on signal processing and communication operations such as data compression, in a landmark paper entitled "A Mathematical Theory of Communication". Applications of fundamental topics of information theory include lossless data compression, lossy data compression, and channel coding. Its impact has been crucial to the success of the Voyager missions to deep space, the invention of the compact disc, the feasibility of mobile phones, the development of the Internet, the study of linguistics and of human perception, the understanding of black holes, and numerous other fields.

The A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in the Marine Sciences was established in 1980 by the Canadian marine science community to recognize excellence of research and outstanding contributions to marine sciences. It is presented by the Royal Society of Canada. The award honours marine scientists of any nationality who have had and continue to have a significant influence on the course of marine scientific thought. It is named in honour of Archibald Gowanlock Huntsman (1883–1973), a pioneer Canadian oceanographer and fishery biologist

The International Society of Limnology is an international scientific society that disseminates information among limnologists, those who study all aspects of inland waters, including their physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and management. It was founded by August Thienemann and Einar Naumann in 1922 as the International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology and Societas Internationalis Limnologiae, SIL.


Selected publications



University of Chicago Press university press in the United States

The University of Chicago Press is the largest and one of the oldest university presses in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, numerous academic journals, and advanced monographs in the academic fields.

Elsevier commercial academic publishing company that publishes medical and scientific literature

Elsevier is a Dutch information and analytics company and one of the world's major providers of scientific, technical, and medical information. It was established in 1880 as a publishing company. It is a part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier. Its products include journals such as The Lancet and Cell, the ScienceDirect collection of electronic journals, the Trends and Current Opinion series of journals, the online citation database Scopus, and the ClinicalKey solution for clinicians. Elsevier's products and services include the entire academic research lifecycle, including software and data-management, instruction and assessment tools.

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The Ramón Margalef Award for Excellence in Education was launched in 2008 by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography to recognize innovations and excellence in teaching and mentoring students in the fields of limnology and oceanography. Criteria for the award requires "adherence to the highest standards of excellence" in pedagogy as well as verification that the teaching techniques have furthered the field of aquatic science. The award is not affiliated with the Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology, often referred to as the Ramon Margalef Award, given by the Generalitat de Catalunya in Barcelona. The award has been presented annually since 2009.


  1. Ros, J.D. (2004) In memory of Ramon Margalef (1919-2004). International Microbiology 7: 229-232
  2. Armengol, J. (2005) Ramon Margalef (1919-2004): teacher and researcher. Limnetica 25: i-ii Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Herrera, C. M. (2005) Resolution of respect. Ramón Margalef (1919-2004). Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 86: 8-11