Peter Edward “Ed” Bostick

(b. 1939 )

“… as we sometimes say about ecology, it is the painful elaboration of the obvious..”

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates about 380 vascular plant specimens collected by Peter Edward Bostick, who usually used “P. E. Bostick” on his labels.  Most were collected for his graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Other herbaria curating Bostick’s specimens include Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CM), Delta State University (DSC), Emory University (GEO), James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies (UNCC), Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MMNS), Missouri Botanical Garden  (MO), Valdosta State University (VSC), Western Carolina University (WCUH), and William & Mary (WILLI).

Peter Edward Bostick was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1939, and was raised in Birmingham, Alabama.  He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1961 with a major in biology and a minor in geology. He earned a M.S. degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1964 under the direction of Dr. Albert E. Radford.  The title of Bostick’s thesis was “A geobotanical investigation of Chandler Mountain, St. Clair County, Alabama.”  (1)

Since I grew up in Alabama, and I was always interested in geology, too — in fact, I minored in geology all the way through undergraduate and graduate school, and I currently teach geology — I chose a small mountain near Gadsden, Alabama, that was well mapped geologically, and I wrote a thesis that had to do with the correlation of the plant life with the underlying rock structures—sort of geo-botanical correlations. There is a very strong correlation. You can predict what kind of plants are going to be growing if you know the geology. And vice versa, if you know the kind of plants, you can predict that there’s limestone or sandstone. (2)

Bostick earned a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966 under the direction of C. Ritchie Bell.  The title of his doctorate thesis was “A systematic study of the genus Rhexia,” and vouchers for that study are housed at NCU. (1)

Bostick taught at Emory University for five years then joined the faculty of Kennesaw Junior College in Marietta, Georgia (USA).  Kennesaw College became a four year institution in 1976, and Bostick was promoted to full professor in 1978.  The institution became Kennesaw State College in 1988, and by the mid-1990’s it became Kennesaw State University. (3)

Bostick and Connie Esposito married in 1986.

In 1997 Bostick won the Distinguished Teaching Award at Kennesaw State University.  “I think I was interdisciplinary long before it was popular,” says Bostick.

One thing I try to do a lot in the classroom is to try to make connections between science and other areas… I’m always trying to point out the similarities between ecology and economics, for example. There are a lot of theoretical stuff and terminology and so-called laws of economics that apply to ecology, and I’m always trying to tell students about this kind of stuff and make those connections. I had some students one time as a directed study work on the shopping mall diversity. The theory in biology is that as a field goes through what we call succession—starting from a field and going through pine stage and eventually ending up in a hardwood forest stage—its diversity increases: the number of different kinds of creatures increases as you go along. My theory was that this happens to shopping malls as they age. They start off with just a few kinds of shops, and as they age, competition drives out some, so that you get the specialty shops. So older malls should have a lot of different kinds of shops that don’t compete strongly with each other. (2) 

Bostick retired from Kennesaw State University in 2003, but continues to use his botanical skills to serve the Bartow County community.  He was one of the first certified Master Gardeners, and served as a consultant for the Grady Hospital Poison Control Center.  In 2006 he was the vice president of the Friends of the Etowah Indian Mounds as well as serving as the president of the Pettit Environmental Preserve and on the board of directors of the Friends of the Library.  Ed and Connie live in a historic home in Cartersville are active members of the Etowah Valley Historical Society. (2)


Shure, Donald J., Donald L. Phillips and P. Edward Bostick (2006)  Gap size and succession in cutover southern Appalachian forests:  an 18 year study of vegetation dynamics.  Plant Ecology 185(2):  299-318.

Bostick, P.E. (1981)  Statistical analysis of the Flora of the Carolinas I.  The Carolina spectrum.  Castanea 46(2):  140-153.

Bostick, P.E. (1977)  Dissemination of some Florida plants by way of commercial peat shipments.  Castanea 42(2):  106-108.

Bostick, P.E. (1971)  Vascular plants of Panola Mountain, Georgia.  Castanea 36(3):  194-209.

Bostick, P.E. (1968)  Notes on fungi responsible for the decay of hickory nuts.  Mycologia 60(4):  978-980.

Bostick, P.E. (1967)  A geobotanical investigation of Chandler Mountain, St. Clair Co., Alabama.  Castanea 32(3):  133-154.


  1.  accessed on 30 December 2010
  2.  accessed on 30 December 2010
  3.   accessed on 30 December 2010