Edward F. Ricketts's career ended prematurely, at a time of considerable environmental and economic peril for the Monterey Bay. In his final essay, Ricketts struggled to come to grips with a crisis and reconcile the complexity of the human and natural factors affecting the sardines. Had he lived, Ricketts would have borne witness to the final collapse of Cannery Row and the canning industry that transformed Monterey from a mere fishing village to one of the world's industrialized fishing and canning centers for more than half a century. His work was far from finished; he intended to write a comprehensive book about the North American Pacific coast invertebrates, which would have integrated his studies ranging from the Sea of Cortez to the outer shores of British Columbia. More than fifty-five years after his death, Ricketts remains an example of one personality who healed the breach between science and art—at least for himself—and a central figure in interdisciplinary cross-pollination and the rise of American ecology.
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