Alfred E. Emerson

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Alfred Edwards Emerson (December 31, 1896 – October 3, 1976) was an American biologist, Professor of Zoology at the University of Chicago, a noted entomologist and leading authority on termites.[1]

Emerson was born in Ithaca, New York. His father was archaeologist and professor at Cornell University, and his mother concert pianist. He received a B.Sc., M.Sc. and in 1925 a Ph.D. in biology from Cornell University.

From 1929 to 1962 he was Professor of Zoology at the University of Chicago. From 1940 to 1976 was Research Associate of the American Museum of Natural History. In 1941 he served as President of the Ecological Society of America, and in 1958 as President of the Society of Systematic Zoology.[2]

In his obituary Tarbell and Tarbell (1982)[1] stated:

"Until his death he was the leading authority on termites, a restless technical expert who contributed massively to their classification, anatomy, and biogeography. He was also an important contributor to modern ecology, one of the synthesizers of the 1940's and 1950's who brought the large quantities of new data on adaptation, physiology, behavior, and distribution into line with the emerging principles."


  • 1925. Termites of the Belgian Congo and the Cameroon
  • 1938. Termite nests--a study of the phylogeny of behavior
  • 1939. "Social Coordination and the Superorganism" in: American Midland Naturalist. Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan., 1939), pp. 182–209
  • 1949. Principles of animal ecology. With W.C. Alice, O. Park, T. Park, and K.P. Schmidt. Philadelphia : Saunders.


  1. ^ a b D. Stanley Tarbell, Ann Tracy Tarbell - (1982) Roger Adams: January 2, 1889-July 6, 1971. p.159
  2. ^ Dr. Alfred E. Emerson at, retrieved November 13, 2012.

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