E. O. Wilson, known as the “father of biodiversity,” is a naturalist, environmentalist, ecologist, entomologist and humanist. Born in Birmingham, Wilson moved around in childhood and grew up largely in Mobile, where he explored the nearby wilderness, including the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. At age 16, while attending Decatur High School in Decatur, he decided to study insects, specifically ants. He would become one of the world’s foremost authorities on ants and earn him the nickname “Dr. Ant.” In 1978, Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for the controversial book, On Human Nature. In 1990, Wilson returned to his earlier research area and published The Ants, an encyclopedic genetic study of the social behavior of ants. This work won him a second Pulitzer Prize. Four years later, Wilson published perhaps his most engaging work—his memoir, Naturalist. E. O. Wilson has been hailed by numerous organizations and professional societies. He has received more than 100 international medals and awards.

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Encyclopedia of Alabama