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A brief view of The American Midland Naturalist since 1990.

When I began my association with The American Midland Naturalist in 1959 as a member of the Executive Committee I had no thought of compiling its indices from 1959 to 1978 (Carpenter and McIntosh 1978), or writing its Life History from its inception in 1909 to 1990 (McIntosh, 1990) in its 82nd year of publication, and even less of continuing a brief comment on aspects of its recent history in a publication now marking its Centennial in 2009. I appreciate the courtesy of its latest, and soon to retire, editor, Dr. William Evans for inviting my reflections on its recent years. In the century of its publication the journal outgrew its name The American Midland Naturalist and description as devoted to natural history, particularly that of the prairie states, and became a national publication on diverse aspects of biology, and since 2005 is appropriately described on its cover as an International Journal of Ecology, Evolution and Environment. Even that wide-ranging description does not encompass its total breadth.

In the last two decades its cover has changed from traditional grey, covered with print to tan decorated with a green fern leaf and a green mosquito suggestive of the breadth of taxa included in its pages. In keeping with the times its cost will increase from $50 in the Americas in 1990 to $95 in 2009. It has also added new categories of subscribers--$55 for individuals and $35 for students in 2009. Since 1990 the number of subscribers has varied form 968 to 1167, averaging slightly over 1000. In that interval page charges also increased from $35 to $50 per page. It also changed in other ways. As editor in 1990 I would never have thought of the recent request that the author send a computer disk with the initial copy and another with the accepted copy. I was fortunate in having, for many years, the technical skills of Juanita Thomas as secretary and Charles McCollester as assistant editor. Juanita had antedated me as secretary, a position she held for 41 y. She retired in 1998 and was succeeded by Kimmarie Merz-Bogold who continued until 2008. Between them they made the editor's job tenable.

The change in the breadth of coverage in the journal is evident in the increase in number of Associate Editors from 15 in 1990, with no duplication, to 19 in 2008, two each in Ornithology, and Herpetology and three in Mammalogy. Plant Population Ecology was expanded to Vegetation Ecology. Limnology and Hydrobiology became Aquatic Ecology and Conservation appeared. As might be expected, associate editors served for various intervals very helpfully, but Harald E. Esch was unique in continuing as Associate Editor for Animal Behavior, a post he had held for sometime even before 1990. Versatility was evident in Carl Von Ende who was Associate Editor for Limnology and Hydrobiology in 1995 and for Biological Statistics in 2007.

The Executive Committee of the journal expanded from five to seven members, three of them having served 10 y: Ronald A. Hellenthal, David M. Lodge and Richard J. Jensen. The Executive Committee provided invaluable guidance to the editors in developing the policies of the journal. The journal celebrated the Sesquicentennial of Notre Dame University with special issues of Volume 126 in 1991 and Volume 127 in 1992.

The authors appearing in the journal are myriad and it would be impossible for me to identify individuals. The number of authors per year varied from 120 in 1992 to 189 in 1996. There was no trend to increase in number, but there was an increase in the number and proportion of women authors. Subject to the limitations of my ability to categorically identify women's names, women authors increased numerically and as a percent of male authors. (Table 1) Given the recent increases in women in universities and in graduate programs this trend may continue in coming decades.

Changes in emphasis in subject matter are evident in the categories of articles published in the period from 1990 to 2008. Ecology, both plant and animal, was the dominant subject although they changed somewhat with editors. In the more collective assessment of the McIntosh editorship the number of animal ecology articles ranged from 33 in 1992 to 56 in 2001. In the Evans editorship the number classified as animal ecology diminished, accompanied by increases in aquatic ecology and endangered species. The total of animal ecology articles from 1990 through 2007 was 654. In plant ecology the change was less prominent, the McIntosh era ranging from 15 to 34 articles per year, and in the Evans editorship from 6 to 21 per year. (Total 396.) Mammalogy was the third most frequent subject, ranging from 11 articles in 1991 to 33 in 2007. (Total 342.) The fourth most frequent subject was entomology--four manuscripts in 2006 to 17 in 1998. (Total 170.) A timely publication was one on the effect of global warming on insects, in 1996, a topic then gaining wide concern. (Rooney, 1996) Invertebrates, other than insects, ranged from five articles in 2002 to 14 in 1991 and 1997. (Total 149.) Ornithology ranged from no articles in 1991 to 16 in 2001. (Total 124.) Animal Behavior articles increased from an average of three per year for the first 9 y of the period to 10 per year in the second nine with a high of 18 published in 2007. (Total 120.) Herpetology ranged from two articles in 1992 to an unusual 19 in 2005. (Total 105) Ichthyology included two articles in 1999 to 17 appearing in 2006. (total 70) Other disciplines such as parasitology (34), plant physiology (15) and animal physiology (10) appeared in smaller numbers of articles in any year. Numbers are subject to small variations due to vagaries of classification. New categories appeared in 2003-2007 with Dr. Evans' editorship. These included Endangered Species with 24 articles, and Conservation Biology totaled 17 starting with one article in 2003 and rising to five in 2005 and 2006.

The 1990-2007 issues were substantially different in content from earlier tabulations of the journal's content. Anatomy and Morphology, Technique/method, Reproduction, Life History, Systematics, Biogeography, Phytosociology, Food, Growth, among others, disappeared from the subject indices. There was a marked increase in geographical distribution. The 1978, 20 y index cited 21 states of the United States while the 1990-2007 indices cited 49 states, most of them multiple times. Numbers of citations and geographical areas outside of the United States increased, Canada and Mexico being most frequent, but citations too from South America, Africa, Asia and New Zealand also appeared.

During the post 1990 period a number of new things appeared in the journal: in 1999, volume 142, an announcement of the journal having a web page including Contents of the current issue, brought it into the computer age. In 2001, volume 145, the initial note appeared on the inside front cover that volumes 1 through 136 were online in JSTOR, also detailed in a full page announcement on the second last page. JSTOR was an organization developed to make complete back files of scholarly journals readily available through participating libraries and has continued to include The American Midland Naturalist to date.

Dr. McIntosh completed his 32 y stint as editor with volume 148, 2002 and was succeeded as editor by Dr. William E. Evans with volume 149 in 2003. Dr. Evans is Professor Emeritus of the Marine Biology Department at Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas. Dr. Evans has done extensive studies on marine environments, worked on environmental management and policy and brought a distinguished career to The American Midland Naturalist.

Volume 151, 2004 brought the announcement of the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference to be held at Notre Dame. The conference was unusual in being organized and attended by undergraduate and graduate students who presented their work. The Introduction to the proceedings and eight papers presented at the conference were included in Volume 153, 2005. This period saw the appearance of Book Reviews as a regular aspect of the journal. One unusual occurrence in the journal was the appearance of two articles on scientific writing by Leslie N. Carraway. The first, in volume 155, 2006, urged authors to "Improve Scientific and Avoid Perishing" and included an extended appendix of "superfluous and misused words." The second, entitled "Content and Organization of a Scientific Paper" provided how-to directions in the usual format of a scientific paper, followed by six appendices on various aspects of preparing a manuscript for publication. It is hoped these will improve the quality of a lot of scientific writing.

A survey of citations of articles in the Journal showed something of the diversity and persistence of references to it. The ten most frequently cited articles published in The American Midland Naturalist from 1990-2007 are listed in Table 2. They range from 64 citations to 49 with maxima in one year from 16-7. Since they appeared from 1990-2001 the rate of citations is very different, the earlier averaging about 1.8 per year, the latter about 8 per year. Notably, two articles have the same lead author, L.B. Best, and subject, breeding birds in agricultural fields. The ten articles represent the diversity of subjects published in the journal. Three focus on plants, three on breeding birds, one each on fire effects, on animal and plant composition, effects of mammals on plants, on vertebrate territoriality and on insect biomass.

Seven articles cited frequently in the 1955-86 interval were also cited in the 1990-2007 period. (Table 3) These ranged from original publication in 1946 to 1968 with citations from 90-215. Dramatically, one of the oldest of these, published in 1947 by C.O. Mohr on populations of North American mammals, had citations increasing from 158 in the 31 y interval to 584 in the 18 y interval. Only one other article had a slight increase in the later period. The reason for the increase in citations of the Mohr article is not clear.

Volume 159, 2008 was a landmark in the history of The American Midland Naturalist. It announced the search for a new editor to replace Dr. Evans who is to retire. It included a statement by Father Theodore Hesburgh, long the president of the University of Notre Dame, about threats to the environment and the importance of ecology in warning of these threats. He noted the need for timely scientific data provided by The American Midland Naturalist to help solve the world's environmental problems and improve people's lives. And, also notably, the January issue announced the planning process for celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of The American Midland Naturalist in 2009.

The author expresses his appreciation to all those who made his tenure as editor a rewarding experience. Specific thanks are extended to librarians Karen Mailing and Sherri Jones from the University of Notre Dame for making available the extensive data from the Web of Scientific Citation Index on which Table 2 and 3 are based. As always I thank Joan McIntosh for turning my hen scratched manuscript into a legible printed work.


CARPENTER, S. AND R. P. MCINTOSH. 1979. Twenty Year Index. Amer. Mid. Nat., 61-100:1959-1978.

MCINTOSH, R. P. 1990. The American Midland Naturalist: The Life History of a Journal. Amer. Mid. Nat., 123:1-31.

ROONEY, T. P., A. T. SMITH AND L. E. HURD. 1996. Mortality Sources of Eurosta solidaginis (Diptera: tephritidae) inhabiting single versus double-galled stems of goldenrod. Amer. Mid. Nat., 136:84-93.
TABLE 1.-Female authors as a percent of male authors

Interval    Male   Female   As % of males

1990-1992   377      95          25
1993-1995   420     104          24
1996-1998    52     100          19
1999-2001   475     147          30
2002-2004   413     121          29
2005-2007   508     150          29

TABLE 2.--Articles published in The American Midland Naturalist
from 1990-2008 and cited most frequently in diverse publications

1. WOODs, K. D. 1993. Effects of invasion by Lonicera tartarica on
herbs and tree seedlings in four New England forests. 130: 62-74.
64 citations, max. 13 in 2006.

2. RUSSELL, F. L., D. B. ZIPPIN, N. L. FOWLER. 2001. Effects of
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on plants, plant
populations and communities: a review. 146:1-26. 63 citations, max.
16 in 2006.

3. VINTON, M. A., D. C. HARTNETT, E.J. FINK et al. 1993.
Interactive effects of fire on bison (Bison bison) and plant
community composition in tall grass prairie. 129: 10-18. 63
citations, max. 8 in 1998.

4. SEGELQUIST, C. A., M. L. ScoTr, G. T. AUBLE. 1993. Establishment
of Populus deltoides under simulated alluvial groundwater declines.
130:274-285.57 citations, max. 11 in 1999.

5. MAHER, C. R., D. F. LoTr. 2000. A review of ecological
determinants of territoriality within vertebrate species.
143:1-29.54 citations, max. 9 in 2006 & 7.

6. HERKERT, J. R. 1995. Analysis of Midwestern breeding bird
population trends 1966-1993. 134: 41-50. 52 citations, max. 6 in

7. BEST, L. B., K. E. FREEMARK, J. J. DINSMORE, el al. 1995. A
review and synthesis of habitat use by breeding birds in
agricultural landscapes of Iowa. 134:29-51.51 citations, max. 13 in

8. GREER, R. D. et al. 1993. Estimation of insect biomass by length
and width. 129:234-240. 50 citations, max. 9 in 2005.

9. BEST, L. B., R. C. WHITMORE, G. M. BOOTH. 1990. Use of
cornfields by birds during the breeding season--the importance of
hedge habitat. 123: 84-99. 50 citations, max. 8 in 2001.

10. FRALISH, J. S., F. B. CROOKS, J. L. CHAMBERS et al. 1991
Comparison of presettlement, 2nd growth and old-growth forest on 6
site types in the Illinois Shawnee Hills. 125:294-309. 49
citations, max. 7 in 2003.

TABLE 3.--Articles published in The American Midland Naturalist and
cited most frequently between 1955-1986. Also cited frequently in

1. MOHR, C. O. 1947. Table of equivalent populations of North
American small mammals. 37:223-249. Citations 1955-1986, 158, max.
24 in 1985. Citations 1990-2007, 584, max. 47 in 2007.

2. BRATTSTROM, B. H., 1965. Body temperature of reptiles. 73:
376-422. Citations 1955-1986, 215, max. 17 in 1975. Citations
1990-2007, 109, max. 12 in 1996.

3. WILLSON, M. F., B.J. RATHCKE. 1974. 92:47-57. Adaptive design of
the floral display in Asclepias syriaca, L. Citations 1955-1986,
90, max. 14 in 1980. Citations 1990-2007, 75, max. 13 in 1997.

4. MARTIN, A. C. 1946. The Comparative internal morphology of
seeds. 36: 513-660. Citations 1955-1986, 94, max. 9 in 1971.
Citations 1990-2007, 102, max. 13 in 2005 and 06.

5. ROTH, L. M., E. R. WILLIS. 1952. A study of cockroach behavior.
47: 66-129. Citations 1955-1986, 133, max. 14 in 1968. Citations
1990-2007, 33, max. 4 in 1990.

6. LLOYD, M., J. H. ZAR, J. R. KARR. 1968. On the calculation of
information theoretical measures of diversity. 79: 257-272.
Citations 1955-1986, 115, max. 13 in 1976. Citations 1990-2007, 20,
max. 3 in 1992 & 94.

7. ROTH, L. M. 1948. A study of mosquito behavior--an experimental
study of the sexual of Aedes aegypti L. 40: 265-352, Citations
1955-1986, 125, max. 20 in 1967. Citations 1990-2007, 28, max. 6 in
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Author:McIntosh, Robert P.
Publication:The American Midland Naturalist
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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