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David William Goodall AM (born 4 April 1914)[1] is an Australian botanist and ecologist. He was influential in the early development of numerical methods in ecology, particularly the study of vegetation.[2][3]

David Goodall
Born David William Goodall
(1914-04-04) 4 April 1914 (age 103)
Edmonton, London, England
Nationality  Australian
Alma mater Imperial College London
Known for Editor-in-chief of the multivolume Ecosystems of the World
seminal papers on ecological gradient analysis[citation needed]
Awards Order of Australia (2016)
Scientific career
Fields Ecology
Thesis Studies in the assimilation of the tomato plant (1941)



Goodall completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 1935 followed by a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1941, both at the University of London (Imperial College of Science and Technology).[4] His PhD research was conducted at East Malling Research Station in Kent on assimilation in the tomato plant.[4]

Research and careerEdit

In 1948, he moved to Australia to become senior lecturer of botany at the University of Melbourne. 1952-1954, he served as reader in botany at the then University College of the Gold Coast (now University of Ghana). He received a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Melbourne in 1953.[citation needed] He then returned to England to take the position as professor of agricultural botany at the University of Reading 1954–1956. From 1956 to 1967, he was a research scientist at various Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) divisions in Australia, then professor of biology at the University of California,[clarification needed] USA, 1967–1968, and professor of systems ecology at Utah State University, USA 1968-1974. For the rest of his career, he was affiliated with CSIRO again, and retired in 1979.[1]

As of December 2016 Goodall is active, an honorary research associate at the Centre for Ecosystem Management at Edith Cowan University[3] and Editor-in-Chief of the series Ecosystems of the World.[5] He is thought to be the oldest scientist still working in Australia,[2] as of January 2016, followed by Dr Max Day, who was born on 21 December 1915.[6]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • A probabilistic similarity index[7]
  • Some considerations in the use of point quadrats for the analysis of vegetation[8]
  • Classification, probability, and utility.[9]
  • Hypothesis-testing in classification[10]
  • Numerical taxonomy of bacteria - some published data re-examined[11]
  • The distribution of the matching coefficient. Biometrics[12]
  • Ecosystems of the World, 36 volumes published in the series 1974[5] to date by Elsevier, Amsterdam) with Goodall as Editor-in-Chief. He also co-authored two of the volumes, Mediterranean-type Shrublands[13] and Hot Deserts and Arid Shrublands.[14]

Awards and honoursEdit

Goodall was promoted to doctor honoris causa at the Università degli Studí di Trieste, Italy, in 1990.[citation needed]

Goodall became a centenarian in April 2014.[15] In the 2016 Australia Day Honours list Goodall was made a Member of the Order of Australia.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b Anon (2016). "Goodall, David William (1914 - )". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. Archived from the original on 1 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Anon (2016). "Australia's oldest working scientist wins battle over office". London: BBC News. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Anon (2016). "Professor David Goodall". Edith Cowan University. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Goodall, David William (1941). Studies in the assimilation of the tomato plant (PhD thesis). University of London (Imperial College of Science and Technology). 
  5. ^ a b Goodall, D. W (1974) Ecosystems of the World[ISBN missing]
  6. ^ "Max Day, Australia's oldest scientist". Radio National. 2015-12-07. Retrieved 2016-08-21. 
  7. ^ Goodall, David W. (1964). "A Probabilistic Similarity Index". Nature. 203 (4949): 1098–1098. doi:10.1038/2031098a0. 
  8. ^ Some considerations in the use of point quadrats for the analysis of vegetation. Australian Journal of Scientific Research. Ser. B: Biological Sciences, 5 (1): 1-41. 1952. PMID 14934631
  9. ^ Goodall, D. W. (1966). "Classification, Probability and Utility". Nature. 211 (5044): 53–54. doi:10.1038/211053a0. 
  10. ^ Goodall, David W. (1966). "Hypothesis-testing in Classification". Nature. 211 (5046): 329–330. doi:10.1038/211329a0. 
  11. ^ Goodall, D. W. (1966). "Numerical Taxonomy of Bacteria -- Some Published Data Re-examined". Journal of General Microbiology. 42 (1): 25–37. doi:10.1099/00221287-42-1-25. 
  12. ^ Goodall, D. W. (1967). "The Distribution of the Matching Coefficient". Biometrics. 23 (4): 647. doi:10.2307/2528419. 
  13. ^ Goodall, D. W (1981) Mediterranean-type Shrublands[ISBN missing]
  14. ^ Hot Deserts and Arid Shrublands (1986).[ISBN missing]
  15. ^ Staff (2014-04-04). "Celebrating a century". Retrieved 2016-04-05. 
  16. ^ Hamlyn, Charlotte (20 August 2016). "102 year oold researcher told to leave university post". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  17. ^ Jose, Lucinda; McConnon, Tyne; Fitzgerald, Bridget (26 January 2016). "West Australians honoured in Australia Day awards". ABC Rural. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 August 2016.