About the Journal
Ten Decades and Beyond
The American Midland Naturalist has entered the 21st Century publishing a broad spectrum of field and experimental biology in an era of fundamental changes in scientific publishing. Its diversity and significance are evident in that it is among the most frequently cited sources in journals of botany, general ecology, mammalogy, zoology, herpetology, behavior, vegetation, wildlife management, parasitology, ornithology, aquatic biology and other disciplines. Recent concern about biodiversity has long been evident in the journal.
In the face of increasingly specialized and expensive journals, it continues as a journal of “scientific natural history,” in Charles Elton’s apt phrase, and is still modestly priced, with new low rates for individuals and students.
Significant Issues in Changing Times
The connotations of natural history and naturalist have changed in the 90 plus years of the journal’s publication. The old image of the naturalist changed markedly with the introduction of new terms and concepts. H. A. Gleason’s “individualistic concept,” presaging a revolution in community ecology in the 1950s, reappeared in 1939 in this journal. Raymond Lindeman’s famous analysis of trophic structure and energetics was based on data published in the American Midland Naturalist and remains a major theme of current ecosystem ecology.
In recent years, terms like allozyme variation, resource partitioning, energy flow, nitrogen turnover, multivariate analysis and Bonferroni correction are miscible with the older lexicon of taxanomic character, classification, succession, vegetation, population, production and nesting. Familiar names of earlier decades (W. D. Billings, W. F. Blair, J. W. Hamilton, H. H. Jobbs, C. O. Mohr and C. H. Muller) are replaced by more recent names (G. W. Barrett, W. J. Loughry, W. J. Mitsch, G. W. Ecsh, M. Berenbaum and W. G. Whitford) as scientific guard changes. The terminology and personnel change, but the significance of the journal remains in a period of quickening environmental concerns.
The description Midland has not been accurate for decades. The geographic coverage broadly includes North America, with occasional articles from other continents.