Ernest Everett Just, a pioneering American biologist, discovered the fundamental role of the environment in the development of embryos. His work led to the creation of the area of biology known as ecological developmental (Eco-Devo) biology. However, both his work and the context of his scientific contributions are not widely known. His work covered a diversity of fields of biology, including marine biology, cytology, and parthogenesis (asexual reproduction where growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization). His findings provided important concepts in developmental biology that are used to this day. Specifically, he demonstrated the importance of the cellular cytoplasm and ectoplasm, in addition to the nucleus, in determining how development occurs in embryos. His worked was unique for its use of in vivo conditions using a variety of marine organisms. His publications on the “Basic Methods for Experiments on Eggs of Marine Mammals” in 1922 and “The Biology of the Cell Surface” in 1939 are still regarded as two of the most comprehensive reviews in cell biology. In this manuscript we present Dr. Just’s childhood in Charleston, SC, unlikely attendance and success at Dartmouth College, and his groundbreaking work, which was developed at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole, Europe, and Howard University.
Williams, Katelyn M.; Wilson, Bryan A.; O'Connor, Wendi G.; and Willis, Monte S.
"Ernest Everett Just, PhD: Pioneer in Ecological Developmental (Eco-Devo) Biology,"
Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science:
1, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jscas/vol11/iss1/5