Alfred James Lotka (1880-1949), an American biophysicist best known for his proposal of the predator-prey model, developed simultaneously but independently of Vito Volterra. The Lotka-Volterra model is still the basis of many models used in the analysis of population dynamics in ecology.
Lotka published Elements of Physical Biology in 1925, the first book on mathematical biology (re-issued as Elements of Mathematical Biology in 1956).
Lotka is also known for his energetic perspective of evolution. He proposed that natural selection was, at its root, a struggle among organisms for available energy; organisms that survive and prosper are those that capture and use energy at a rate and efficiency more effective than that of its competitors. Lotka extended his energetic framework to human society. In particular, he suggested that the shift in reliance from solar energy to nonrenewable energy would pose unique and fundamental challenges to society.
These theories made Lotka an important forerunner to the development of biophysical and ecological economics, advanced by Odum and others in the 1970s and 1980s.