Herbert Andrewartha

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Professor Herbert George Andrewartha, BS (UWA), MAgSc (Melb), DSc (Adel), FAA, (21 December 1907 – 27 January 1992) was a distinguished Australian research scientist in the fields of entomology, biology, zoology and animal ecology.[1][2]

In the twentieth century, Andrewartha became the most influential Australian ecologist, and best known for attributing density-independent forces, such as weather, to be even more important than density-dependent factors in influencing population regulation.[3] In 1933, Andrewartha began his studies on apple thrips, Thrips imagines, but later transitioned his studies to the plague grasshopper, Austroicetes, when he moved to Adelaide in 1935.[3] This led to his first publication with his former student Charles Birch in 1941, “The influence of weather on grasshopper plagues in South Australia”.[4] In 1945, when his mentor James Davidson died, Andrewartha inherited fifteen years of data collected on thrips population.[3] After several years of statistical analysis of these data, Andrewartha and Birch demonstrated strong connections between physiology, population levels, and other environment factors and this led to the publication of two major books, The Distribution and Abundance of Animals (1954) and The Ecological Web (1984).[3][4] Through this work, Andrewartha and Birch found a new school of population ecology, which emphasized the role of environmental controls as opposed to community-dependent approach based on density-dependent factors.[3] The joint work of Andrewartha and Birch helped them earned the Eminent Ecologist Award, which had never been presented jointly to two persons previously from the Ecological Society of America.[4]

[1] http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/chronob/ANDR1907.htm

[2] http://www.esa.org/history/Awards/bulletin/eminent1988.pdf


Early years[edit]

Andrewartha was born on December 21, 1907 in Perth, Western Australia to George and Elsie, the second of three children. His father was a teacher, and the family moved frequently from school to school in rural Western Australia.

Andrewartha holds his Bachelor of Agriculture from the University of Western Australia. He later received his doctorate from the University of Adelaide in 1972.[5]

[1] http://www.eoas.info/biogs/P000018b.htm


Retirement and death[edit]

Andrewartha retired in 1972. In 1975 he suffered a serious stroke, but continued writing his last book with Birch. He died on 27 January 1992 at the age of 84. He married Hattie Vevers Steele in Melbourne in 1934. His wife predeceased him: he was survived by his son Graeme and daughter Susan Dutch.

Significant work[edit]

Honours and awards[edit]

  • Andrewartha received many prestigious awards including the Clarke Medal from Royal Society of New South Wales, Verco Medal from Royal Society of South Australia, Gold Medal from Australian Ecological Society (1987). He was the President of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia and Chairman of the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council of South Australia.[5]
  • 1954 David Syme Research Prize of the University of Melbourne (with Charles Birch)
  • 1962 Verco Medal of the Royal Society of South Australia
  • 1968 Clarke Medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales
  • 1987 Gold Medal of the Australian Ecological Society
  • 1988 Eminent Ecologist Award of the Ecological Society of America for 1988 to Andrewartha and Birch


  • 1954: The Distribution and Abundance of Animals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (with Charles Birch)
  • 1961: Introduction to the Study of Animal Populations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; London: Methuen & Co ISBN 0-416-64030-3
  • 1971: --do.--2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; London: Methuen & Co ISBN 0-226-02029-0
  • 1984: The Ecological Web. Chicago: University of Chicago Press ISBN 0-226-02033-9 (with Charles Birch)



  1. ^ L. C. Birch and T. O. Browning Herbert George Andrewartha 1907-1992 Archived 2 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Biographical Memoirs, Historical Records of Australian Science, vol.9, no.3, 1993. pp.259-268
  2. ^ Andrewartha, Herbert George (1907 - 1992), Encyclopedia of Australian Science, www.eoas.info
  3. ^ a b c d e "Chrono-Biographical Sketch: Herbert G. Andrewartha". people.wku.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  4. ^ a b c "Awards - Eminent Ecologists" (PDF). 
  5. ^ a b Centre, The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research. "Andrewartha, Herbert George - Biographical entry - Encyclopedia of Australian Science". www.eoas.info. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  6. ^ In 21st-century Australian Universities, the position of "Reader" is generally called "Associate Professor"
  7. ^ Former Officers of the University of Adelaide, www.adelaide.edu.au
  8. ^ The HG Andrewartha Medal, Royal Society of South Australia
Preceded by
Spencer Smith-White
Clarke Medal
Succeeded by
Samuel Warren Carey