“Good morning Weathercock, make this day bright
Put us in touch with your fair winds
Sing to us softly, hum evening’s song
Point the way to better days we can share with you”
– JTull

Thomas Abel

Associate Professor

What’ New

Emergy Webinar 2.0:Information and Emergy: What Did Odum Intend?

10 June 2022 @ 9:00 AM EST (1:00 PM GMT)
17 June 2022 @ 9:00 AM EST (1:00 PM GMT)

About Me.

Cultural evolution is a unifying theme for much of my work and thought. I conceptualize evolution within an expanded synthesis that includes thermodynamic self-organization. The study of cultural evolution, therefore, should be located within study of the self-organization of human-ecosystems.

This interest has led my research in two related directions. In the first case, I am exploring the structure of ‘culture’, the information produced by people in a hierarchy of forms that include discourse, media, ritual, education, research, law, and others. In the second case, I am attempting to demonstrate the hierarchical organization of economy, people, and culture that is nested within ecosystems.

In both cases I am expanding upon the work of famed ecologist H.T. Odum. In the first case I am exploring his general theory of the ‘information cycle’, an evolutionary-ecological model of the processes of information maintenance and change. In the second case, I am utilizing the ecological-economics of emergy that he pioneered as a tool to demonstrate the human-cultural-ecosystem hierarchy of which we are all a part.

International Society for the Advancement of Emergy Research




Areas of Expertise

  • Cultural Evolution
  • Systems Ecology
  • Emergy Ecological Economics
  • Complexity
  • Cognition
  • Linguistics
  • Machine learning
  • Simulation

Courses Taught



  • Human Adaptation and Cultural Evolution
  • Anthropology and Environment
  • Psychological Anthropology
  • Language Development
  • Ecotourism
  • History and Theory of Anthropology
  • Culture and Evolution
  • Environmental Anthropology
  • Methods in Anthropology
  • Ecological Economics