In December 2015, the Ecological Society of America will celebrate a big birthday: 100 years since the first group of botanists and zoologists, parasitologists, geologists, physiologists, and marine biologists gathered in Columbus, Ohio, to unite their shared interest in the relationships of the great diversity of living organisms to each other and their surroundings.

To kick off our centennial year, we are asking ecologists to tell us about the ideas and discoveries that have had the biggest influence on the field over the last century – and why.

A few folks have taken up the question on their blogs, arguing for concepts, tools, or events as diverse as food webs, quantification of natural selection, advent of biological field stations, trophic cascades, the modern synthesis, systems ecology, succession, the development of statistical standards of evidence, and the conservation movement of the mid-twentieth century.

Others are discussing the question on twitter under hashtag #ESA100.

I have a roundup of the current discussion on ESA’s blog at

What’s your pick for the biggest milestones in ecology of the last 100 years?