Raymond L. Lindeman (1915-1942), an American ecologist who established the concept of trophic dynamics in the field of ecology. From his studies at Cedar Creek Bog in Minnesota, Lindeman designed a theoretical model of nutrient cycling expressed explicitly in terms of energy flows symbolized by mathematical equations. From this he introduced the concept of of ecological efficiency of energy transfer, namely the efficiency with which energy is transferred from lower to higher tropic levels. The study of energy flows in ecosystems, including food chains, food webs, and ecological pyramids is now a cornerstone of community and ecosystem ecology.
Lindeman's classic paper on energy flow in ecosystems was initially rejected for publication in the journal Ecology. Reviewers felt that Lindeman's data were insufficient to support the theoretical model, and also that theoretical essays were inappropriate for publication in Ecology. However, in September 1941 Lindeman and his wife, Eleanor Hall Lindeman arrived in New Haven, Connecticut to begin work with G. Evelyn Hutchinson, a prominent limnologist teaching at Yale University. Thomas Park, the zoological editor for Ecology, subsequently accepted the paper after Hutchinson persuaded him that theory was important to the development of the field of ecology.
Lindeman’s name is now legendary, but he died in April 1942 at the age of 27, just months before his seminal work was published in Ecology. The American Society of Limnology and Oceanography established the annual Raymond L. Lindeman Award in 1987 to recognize an outstanding paper written by a young aquatic scientist. The initial gift to create a fund for the Lindeman Award was made in 1986 by Lindeman's graduate school collegue, Charles B. Reif of Wilkes College, Pennsylvania.
Lindeman, Raymond L., 1942. The Trophic-Dynamic Aspect of Ecology. Ecology, 23(4):399-417.
Cook, R.E., 1977. Raymond Lindeman and the trophic-dynamic concept in Ecology. Science, 198:22-26.
Reif, C.B., 1986. Memories of Raymond Laurel Lindeman. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 67:20-25.