The Collections of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences as the Basis for Studies on Species Diversity

A. F. Alimov, V. N. Tanasijtshuk and S. D. Stepanjants


The objectives and principles of zoological collecting and the significance of modern animal collections for the development of taxonomy and the investigation of biological diversity are considered. The history of the foundation, sources, scientific and educational significance of collections housed at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ZIN RAS) are described in detail. The role of the Zoological Museum of the ZIN in biological and conservation education is indicated. The scope and state of particular collections, the extent to which they have been examined, and the topics of studies on various animal taxa are described. The role of the experts who have contributed significantly to the formation of the collections is indicated. Especial attention is given to various expedition studies that were the main source and provided for the enlargement of the collections.

An extremely important problem facing the human race is conservation of the Earth's biological diversity. Many publications have been devoted to this problem, and numerous researchers and scientific institutions across the world are developing this field of research. The scientific and practical importance of these studies is constantly increasing, and they are encouraged by the global ecological crisis distinctly manifested in a number of regions of the world. As a result of economic activity or, rather, of mismanagement, natural ecosystems are changing abruptly and many animal and plant species are becoming rare or dying out.

It is well known, biological diversity is associated with the essence of ecosystem organization. It is based on complex biotic and abiotic interrelations between the populations of the various species that form communities. At each moment of the Earth's existence, biological diversity is a result of the entire course of the evolution of life. As the biosphere of the Earth has evolved and become more and more complicated, the biological diversity of the biosphere has increased for the past billions of years, although this process is rather slow (Alimov et al., 1996).

Investigations of the biological diversity not only provide the basis for zoology, botany, ecology, and evolutionary theory, but their results are valuable for all scientific fields associated with nature. The more thorough the understanding of biological diversity achieved, the more effective the development of methods for its preservation and the ability of humans to exploit natural resources without damaging nature. Many global and regional problems cannot be resolved without fundamental knowledge of the diversity of life and of the relationships between organisms.

Preservation of biological diversity implies conservation of natural ecosystems. This necessitates preservation of species diversity. Species are the key structural units of an ecosystem. Studies on species diversity provide the basis for the classification of natural organisms. Investigation of both species diversity and natural systems is the subject matter of taxonomy.

Taxonomy is essentially a pioneer science devoted to species diversity. As taxonomy deals with the description and classification of all living and extinct organisms and examines relationships between them and particular groups, it appears to be the basis of all biological sciences. It provides researchers of other fields with initial data for studies, keys, phylogenetic schemes, and systematized information on the origin, environmental requirements, and distribution of organisms. If exact identification of species and information on relationships were not available, the development of ecology, genetics, and conservation biology would be impossible and a number of vitally important scientific fields would not progress. It is impossible to study the capacity for biological production of seas and inland waters without information on the animals inhabiting them; it is impossible to organize the conservation of plants without knowledge of the organisms contributing to the ecosystems including these plants; it is impossible to effectively combat a number of diseases without knowledge of the animals carrying these diseases.

Studies in zoological taxonomy are based primarily on the examination of the collections most completely reflecting the fauna of regions of interest. The collections are formed as a result of the efforts of a number of generations of researchers, explorers, and naturalists. The collections are the working tools of zoological taxonomy: it is impossible to study fauna without examination of collections. The world's largest zoological collections have been developing for centuries and their scientific significance is comparable to the significance of such treasuries as the Louvre and the Hermitage. They are housed in the major scientific centers of the world, such as the British Museum in London, the Museum of Natural History in Paris, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. (Smithsonian Institute), the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and many other institutions and museums. The Zoological Museum and the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg (ZIN RAS) occupy one of the prime places among them.

A zoological collection is a set of faunal specimens of scientific or educational significance supplied with scientific documentation. The objects of zoological collections are stuffed animals, skins, complete or fragmentary skeletons of vertebrates, eggs and nests, dry invertebrates, moist and dry preparations of various animals or their fragments, living wild animals, living and cryoconserved cultures of microorganisms, remains of living and fossil organisms, and traces of their activity. In addition, note that zoological collections are estimated in terms of accounting units rather than in terms of the number of specimens. An accounting unit is an object supplied with a label containing information on the point and time of collection, the collector's name, and preferably on the scientific classification. This may be a mammoth skeleton, slide preparation, insect, flask containing collected material, box containing a series of animals of the same species or captured at the same point, or even a large number of animal bones from a locality of prehistoric humans.

It is evident that taxonomists study animals not only on the basis of collections; in a number of animal groups, specific characteristics can be studied in living organisms only. For example, it was revealed that hydra species are distinguished from one another based mainly on parameters observed in living organisms. Live collections maintained in vivaria allow for genetic analysis of pure strains of living organisms and for species to be distinguished from one another based on genetic parameters.

To date, approximately 1.5 million animal species have been described. The number of species yet to be studied and described is estimated as 10 to more than 100 million (Groombridge, 1992). It is well known that approximately 3700 mammal species, more than 8600 bird species, and more than 9000 reptiles and amphibians have been described. However, the more primitive the animal groups considered are, the richer they are in species, and the less data on the number of species belonging to these groups are available. In some books. the number of insect species of the world is estimated as one million; in the others, as ten million. Some animal groups are poorly understood for various reasons, and many species have not been discovered at all. To orient oneself in this diversity, one should know and distinguish the groups from one another, i.e., identify the species. This necessitates examination of collections.

Using collections, one can study the geographical distribution and variation of species and obtain information on living conditions. However, taxonomists also participate in field work. This allows them to study the features of life cycles and biocenotic interrelations and the role of particular species in the general flow of life. Field work performed by zoologists provides for the enlargement of zoological collections.

The main stage of zoological taxonomy studies is examination of type series collections and comparison of investigated forms with the one type specimen or the series of type specimens used for the original description of the species. These standard specimens are stored in the largest museums and scientific institutes of the world. They are the most valued objects of each museum. The Zoological Museum of the ZIN possesses tens of thousands of type specimens belonging to various animal groups. Russian and foreign zoologists constantly examine them within the precincts of the ZIN. The collections of the ZIN originate from the Kunstkammer (Cabinet of Curiosities) founded by Peter the Great (Peter I), who bought an extensive natural history collection on his first trip abroad and subsequently spared neither trouble nor expense to enlarge it. He bought not only particular collections but world famous private museum collections. As a result, the materials collected by Ruysch, Seba, and Gottwaldt and drawings of the famous naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian, etc., were brought to St.Petersburg.

In the 18th century, a number of great academic expeditions were organized for the exploration of the natural resources of Russia. These were the Siberian expedition headed by the Academician D.G. Messershmidt (1720-1727); the Siberian and Kamchatka expeditions headed by the Academician I.G. Gmelin, adjunct (junior scientific assistant) G.V. Steller, and "a student of the Academy" S.P. Krasheninnikov (1733-1743); the expedition to Siberia (1768-1774) and subsequently to southern Russia (1773-1798) headed by the Academician P.S. Pallas; the expedition to the northern provinces and Volga region headed by I.I. Lepekhin (1768-1773); and the expedition to the southern regions of Russia headed by S.G. Gmelin and J.A. Glildenstadt (1768-1775).

Early in the 19th century, great marine expeditions commonly involving well-known naturalists were organized. These were the around-the-world voyages of the Nadezhda and Neva vessels headed by I.F. Kruzenshtern and Yu.F. Lisyansky (1803-1805); the two expeditions of the Ryurik (1815-1818) and Predpriyatie vessels (1823-1826) headed by O.E. Kotsebu; the First Russian Expedition of the Vostok and Mirnyi vessels headed by F.F. Bellinsgausen and M.P.Lazarev to Antarctica (1819-1821); and an around-the-world voyage of the vessels Senyavin and Moller headed by P.P. Litke.

The Academician G.I. Langsdorf, the Russian consul in Rio de Janeiro and a participant of the expedition headed by Krusenstem, organized an expedition to the inner regions of Brazil (1821-1836). The material collected by this expedition enriched many institutes of the Academy of Sciences.

Early in the 19th century, a series of specialized museums, including the Zoological Museum, were organized on the basis of the Cabinet of Curiosities. A young German zoologist F.F. Brandt, elected a Member of the Academy of Sciences, was designated as director. On July 4, 1832, he reported to the Academy of Sciences that the first three showrooms of the new museum, located at that time in a building in the Mendeleevskaya liniya on Vasil'evskii Island, were available for service. This date is accepted as the date of the foundation of the Zoological Museum.

One of the most effective expeditions of the Academy of Sciences of that period was a journey of the laboratory assistant of the museum I.G. Voznesensky to Russian America (1839-1849). At the same time, there was an expedition to the Caucasus headed by A.D. Nordman (1835), an expedition to Central Asia headed by N.A. Severtsov (1857-1858), expeditions to Novaya Zemlya (1837) and to Russian Lapland (1840) headed by the Academician K.M. Baer (Karl Ernst), an expedition to Eastern Siberia headed by A.F. Middendorf (1842-1845), an expedition to the Far East headed by L.I. Schrenk (1853-1856), etc. The expeditions headed by N.M. Przewalsky provided the museum with especially extensive material. In addition, the Zoological Museum received donations from many dozens of people and institutions, including Dr. V.I. Dal' from Orenburg (subsequently, the author of the famous Explanatory Dictionary of Living Great Russian Language);

N.A. Grebnitsky, the governor of the Komandorskie Islands; a "free navigator" N.I. Shestunov; emperors and grand princes; etc. All of Russia enlarged the collections of the Zoological Museum.

By the end of the 19th century, the old museum building had become too small, and the government transferred it to the building of the House of Exhibitions located not far from the Zoological Museum. It took six years to reconstruct and settle in this building. The grand opening was held on February 6, 1901.

Further enlargement of the collection took place through numerous expeditions, purchases, and voluntary donations. The museum acquired large collections of insects and birds and materials of expeditions to (1) Eastern Turkestan, Dzungarian Ala Tau, and Gobi, organized by the Grumm-Grzhimailo brothers; (2) Kashgaria and Tibet, headed by M.V. Pevtsov; (3) Central Asia, headed by V.I. Roborovsky; and (4) Central Asia and Tibet, headed by P.K. Kozlov. The famous Berezovka mammoth was brought to the museum and mounted. In 1913, the total number of specimens was 2268968.

After the October Revolution and the Civil War, the museum renewed its expedition activity. In the 1920s, the Zoological Museum organized the Olonets Hydrobiological Expedition (G.Yu. Vereshchagin), the Hydrofaunal Expedition for studying the fresh waters of the Far East (headed by A.V. Martynov), an expedition to Tuva and Mongolia (A.Ya. Tugarinov), and an expedition to Yakutia (A.I. Ivanov and V.L. Bianki). The parasitological expeditions headed by the Academician E.N. Pavlovsky began.

In 1930, when the institutions of the Academy of Sciences underwent general reorganization, the Zoological Museum became one of its departments and was transformed into the Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences (ZIN). In the prewar period, the researchers of the ZIN organized expeditions to Central Asia (Academician E.N. Pavlovsky, B.S. Vinogradov, and V.V. Popov), the Far East (G.U. Lindberg), the Barabinsk lakes (B.E. Bychovsky), the Volga basin (V.I. Zhadin), and many other regions of the USSR.

The Second World War was a terrible ordeal for the researchers of the ZIN. They spent their time on the roof, extinguishing incendiary bombs falling on the building, and the fund collections were transferred to the basement rooms. The museum exposition remained on the spot. In August 1941, only some researchers were evacuated. When the blockade began, during the state of emergency, some researchers lived in the laboratories. The temperature inside the building was almost the same as outdoors, and shells hit the building, but the researchers continued working. During the winter and spring of 1942, many of the researchers were evacuated owing to the efforts of the deputy director of the ZIN N.T. Ukhin. Only a small group of volunteers maintaining the collection were retained in Leningrad; these were L.A. Portenko, A.N. Kirichenko, P.V. Terent'ev, I.A. Chetyrkina, and L.N. Lebedinskaya. Thanks to the efforts of these people and to Ukhin, the museum, collections, and library were completely preserved. In the meantime, the researchers evacuated to Stalinabad (Dushanbe) and developed a vigorous program for studying the fauna of Tajikistan as soon as they recovered from dystrophy. They returned in the autumn of 1944 and opened the Zoological Museum in 1945. However, 7 zoologists and technical workers of the ZIN did not return from the war and 39 died of starvation during the blockade.

In the postwar period, studies on the fauna of the USSR were continued with increased intensity. Several complex land and marine expeditions worked in various regions of our country and abroad every year. Studies were developed in the Carpathians and in Lake Baikal, in the Far East, Tajikistan, China, and adjacent seas. Beginning in 1955, the researchers of the ZIN participated in complex expeditions to the Southern Ocean; in the shoal of the Antarctic Continent, the marine biologists of the ZIN were the first to accomplish the program of seasonal quantitative biocenotic studies with the use of scuba-diving equipment.

Over the last ten years, Russia's problems have influenced the expedition activity of the ZIN and reduced it to a minimum. Disintegration of the Soviet Union made some regions of the former USSR inaccessible; the fate of the collections stored in some republics is rather problematic because of the disintegration of scientific institutions. However, the materials housed at the Zoological Institute give a rather complete view of the faunas of the republics of the former USSR; the type specimens of most species inhabiting these areas are stored here, and this allows domestic and foreign experts to study the faunas of many regions to their best advantage.

To date, the phyla and classes especially rich in species appear in the faunas of the former USSR and Russia in the list shown in Table 1 (Alimov et al, 1996, amended).

Table 1. The number of species of the largest phyla and classes in the faunas of the former USSR and Russia


Latin name

Number of species in the former USSR

Number of species in Russia






Thorny-headed worms

Wheel animalcules

Ringed worms


Arthropods including







Chordates including









































































Recently, Starobogatov, Lobanov, and Smirnov (in press) substantially improved and prepared for publication the list given in Table 1; in particular, they used a new classification of the higher taxa. We are grateful to these researchers for the opportunity to become acquainted with these data. However, we believe that this table should not be used until it is published.

It is evident that the considered estimates of world and regional faunas are not final. For example, one can propose that at most 70% of the insect faunas of both Russia and the former USSR have been studied; some groups, such as roundworms and arachnids (in particular, soil-dwelling mites) have been studied to a substantially lesser extent.

Museum Collections

The Zoological Museum occupies a prominent place in the ZIN. Having the status of a laboratory, it is responsible for cognitive and popularization work. The museum exposition displays only a small part of the fund collections stored in the ZIN, but it contains many extremely valuable specimens. The first exposition room of the museum displays the relics of the Cabinet of Curiosities: a stuffed horse and two favorite dogs belonging to Peter I and a huge anaconda snake, as well as an enormous blue whale skeleton hanging above the skeletons of small whales and stuffed walruses and seals. In 1827, this whale was beached on the coasts of a Belgian town called Ostende, and in 1856, the college councilor Balabin bought the skeleton and donated it to the Zoological Museum.

At the very beginning of the second exposition room, a diorama entitled Giant Rays provides insight into the fauna of the Caribbean Sea. The fish exhibition is rich and diverse. True sturgeons are represented by almost all known species and by a number of hybrids. The shark collection is rich. Among the Members of almost all invertebrate groups stored in the museum, some marine invertebrates, such as glass sponges, corals, crabs, and mollusc shells, are particularly spectacular. The huge, wavy valves of the tridacnas always attract much attention. Red and black corals have long been used as raw materials for jeweller's art; a colony of an extremely rare blue (solar) coral (Heliopora) from the Funafuti atoll is one of the largest of all the specimens displayed in the museums of the world. A unique, 260-cm-long coral belonging to the sea pens (Pennatularia) is substantially larger than all other known specimens; it was found by the winterers of the drifting station SP-6 in the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean.

Among the reptiles represented by snakes, turtles, and crocodiles, the giant lizard (Komodo dragon) eating up a wild boar is especially noteworthy. This lizard is rarely displayed in the museums of the world; this specimen was brought from Komodo Island (Indonesia) by a researcher of the ZIN and a noted herpetologist, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences I.S. Darevsky.

Many birds are exhibited in the museum in both the taxonomic collection and the biogroups and dioramas. Visitors are especially interested in the exhibit entitled A Colony of Emperor Penguins, which includes a kindergarten (a group of closely positioned baby birds), and in the Bird Bazaar (bird colony on the seashore), which shows a part of a large colony consisting of murres, auks, puffins, and kittiwakes at the shore of the Barents Sea. The material on the Arctic fauna was first collected by Academician A.F. Middendorf, and this work was continued by numerous expeditions. Only a small part of this material is exhibited in the museum; these are the polar wolf, an old biogroup of two polar bears, musk oxen, a diorama showing fur seals, etc.

The collection of monotremes and marsupials stored in the ZIN and partially exhibited in the museum is one of the largest collections of the world, being approximately as rich as those of Australian museums. Thus, for example, a stuffed Tasmanian wolf (or marsupial tiger, Thylacinus cynocephalus) and its skeleton are displayed here. Only 60 specimens of this completely exterminated Tasmanian endemic are in the possession of museums (K. Medlock, the curator of marsupials in the Hobart Museum, personal communication).

The mammoth collection of the ZIN is unmatched. The most unique exhibit of this collection (and, undoubtedly, the most valuable exhibit of the museum) is a stuffed mammoth, the only exhibit of this kind in the world. When excavated, this mammoth was almost intact and retained skin, muscles, and innards. It was found in 1900 at the Berezovka River, a tributary of the Kolyma. News of the finding reached the Academy of Sciences in April 1901 and in May, an expedition consisting of the zoologist O.F. Gerts, laboratory assistant E.V. Pfitsenmaier, and geologist D.P. Sevast'yanov was sent to excavate the mammoth. The Berezovka mammoth is mounted in a strange posture: the animal appears to be sitting. It was frozen in this position in the permafrost 45 thousand years ago, when it fell down into a precipice or a crack and died. This finding provided the scientists with valuable information, in particular, on mammoth feeding, as food remains (grass) were revealed between the teeth and in the stomach. The Berezovka mammoth is the emblem of the Zoological Institute.

The other valuable exhibit is the famous Kirgilyakh baby mammoth. This is a mummy of a young animal, aged seven or eight months. A prospector bulldozer operator, Anatolii Logachev, found it on June 23, 1977, when he was working at the Kirgilyakh stream (Magadan oblast). Radiocarbon analysis revealed that the baby mammoth died 40000 years ago. Another mummy of a 3- to 4-month-old female mammoth was found on the eastern coast of the Yamal Peninsula in 1988.

A series of three mammoth skeletons is also displayed in the museum. These are (1) the oldest exhibit, the so-called Adams' mammoth, found in 1799 in the delta of the Lena and brought to St. Petersburg in 1806 by the adjunct of the Academy of Sciences M.I. Adams; (2) the skeleton of the Berezovka mammoth; and (3) the Taimyr mammoth excavated in 1948 by the expedition headed by L.A. Portenko. Along with the mammoth skeletons, a skeleton of a fossil Southern elephant (Archidiskodon meridionalis) is exhibited. This is the world's largest skeleton of this species.

The other extinct animal is the famous Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas). The skeleton of this animal exhibited in the museum was found in the sands of a bay in the Komandorskie Islands, as were the few other skeletons and skulls of sea cows displayed in other museums of the world. The Steller's sea cow was discovered in 1741 in the Komandorskie Islands by a participant of Bering's expedition, the adjunct of the Academy of Sciences zoologist G.V. Steller; he was the only scientist to see living individuals. Unfortunately, the sea cow was trusting and defenseless, possessed very tasty and nutritious meat, and was soon exterminated by whalers. Steller returned from an expedition which ended unsuccessfully in a diminutive vessel built of the wreckage of a broken ship and could bring only some pieces of sea-cow skin (subsequently, whale's lice, parasitic crustaceans, were found on this specimen) and the homy grater replacing the sea-cow teeth. These exhibits were displayed in the museum.

The great Russian explorer N.M. Przewalsky, who travelled in Central Asia for more than nine years, and his colleague P.K. Kozlov showed great favor to the museum. Among the most outstanding findings of these researchers, the museum possesses several Przewalskii horses, including the type specimen brought by Przewalsky and used for the description of this species. Several wild Bactrian camels are also available. Marco Polo indicated the occurrence of this species, but Przewalsky was the first to capture this endangered animal and bring its skin and skeletons to the museum.

Only a few museums of the world possess such a rarity as a giant panda. The fact that this animal, which looks like a huge plush toy, is close to extinction is known throughout the world. It is not without reason that this animal has become the emblem of the International Union for the Protection of Nature.

A magnificent biogroup of Amur tigers was produced in the latter half of the 19th century. The postures of two competing males are so dynamic and natural that they give the impression of living animals. The biogroup was acquired by the museum in 1874 as a gift from Alexander II; according to legend, it was originally placed in his private office.

Striped okapis are relatives of giraffes rather than zebras, although they are similar to the latter. Until the beginning of the last century, these large animals were unknown to scientists. The Zoological Museum was one of the first owners of a stuffed okapi and a complete skeleton received in 1914.

A total of more than 50000 exhibits are displayed in the Zoological Museum. Each is unique, and many of them have an interesting history (Naumov, 1980).

Funf Collections of the Institute

The fund collections of the ZIN are not exhibited in the museum and provide the basis of studies for the researchers of the institute and for many other Russian and foreign zoologists. They are concentrated in ten laboratories dealing with terrestrial vertebrates, ichthyology, freshwater and experimental hydrobiology, marine research, insect taxonomy, parasitology, evolutionary morphology, protozoology, parasitic worms, and brackish-water biology. Some laboratories and two biological stations of the ZIN do not possess collections but widely use the collections of the other laboratories and deal with living objects (see below).

The researchers of the ZIN have created and regularly update computer databases containing information on the collections. A number of original computer programs allow one to create various information retrieval systems for data processing.

The Laboratory of Terrestrial Vertebrates consists of three departments dealing with mammalogy, ornithology, and herpetology. The collections are divided into these departments according to their specialization.

Most of the materials stored in the Mammal Department were collected in the 19th and 20th centuries. The first directors of the museum, Academicians F.F. Brandt and A.A. Strauch, actively contributed to the enlargement of the collection. The directors of the museum, Academicians N.V. Nasonov and A.A. Byalynitsky-Birulya (who was subjected to repression and died in exile), were noted mammal experts. Many outstanding zoologists (G.P. Adierberg, A.I. Argiropulo, B.S. Vinogradov, K.K. Flerov, and K.K. Chapsky) worked in this department (from 1968 till 1998, this was a laboratory). Under the direction of N.K. Vereschagin, studies on the history of mammalian faunas were developed; I.M. Gromov, an expert on extant and extinct rodents, developed the same themes for many years. The fund collections of this department were enlarged not only by numerous expeditions, but by collections donated to the ZIN as well. Thus, more than 5000 specimens of various mammals were transferred to the department by the well-known zoologist and ecologist N.N. Vorontsov.

The organization of a living collection (vivarium) containing as many as 600 rodents and small insectivores allowed M.N. Meyer and other researchers to solve taxonomic questions by cytogenetic and hybridological methods.

The collection of the Mammal Department contains approximately 100000 accounting units, including skins, stuffed animals, skeletons, skulls, animals fixed in alcohol or formalin, and bony remains of extinct mammals. It includes representatives of all orders of the class Mammalia and all species inhabiting Russia and adjacent countries, and rather completely represents world fauna. The type specimens of 56 extant and 50 extinct animal species, the species included in the International Red Data Book, and species which died out in the 20th century are stored here. Among them, there is a series of skins and skulls of the extinct Turanian tiger that occurred until recently in Central Asia; several specimens of the almost completely extinct Asiatic subspecies of cheetah; a skull and skeleton (type specimen) of a tarpan, a wild horse which died out recently; a series of skins and skulls of Przewalsky horses, which were not obtained from zoos but were captured in the wild in Mongolia (the type specimen is exhibited in the museum); and type specimens of the wild yak and the Bactrian camel. In addition to the extinct marsupial tiger, the collection contains another extinct marsupial, the hare kangaroo. The collection of fossil bones of Quaternary mammals is extremely large.

The collections of the Department of Ornithology are based on the materials provided by expeditions organized by the Academy of Sciences and bought abroad rather than on the specimens from the Cabinet of Curiosities, as they were in pitiable condition. Among the early collections, there were materials collected by a Brazilian expedition of Academician G.I. Langsdorf and by a participant of an around-the-world voyage of the Senyavin, F. Kitlits, who provided the museum with 754 specimens of 314 bird species, including unique specimens of species that were subsequently exterminated. Ornithological material was brought by the expeditions headed by N.A. Severtsov, R.K. Maak, Academicians K.M. Baer, A.F. Middendorf, L.I. Schrenk, and many others; and in the latter half of the 19th century, by the expeditions headed by Przewalsky and Kozlov. The first curators of the museum collections, I.G. Voznesensky, A.F. Brandt, and V.F. Russov, contributed substantially to the rapid growth of the fund collection. Subsequently, the collections also increased in number owing to the efforts of Academician F.D. Pleske and V.L. Bianki. Academician P.P. Sushkin collected extensive material in Bashkiria, Kazakhstan, southern Siberia, the Caucasus, and northwestern Mongolia. A.Ya. Tugarinov explored Siberia and laid the foundation of paleoomithology by studying fossil Neogene and Anthropogene birds; the latter are also stored in the ZIN. E.V. Kozlova collected unique material on the bird fauna of Mongolia in 1923-1926 during the expedition headed by her husband, P.K. Kozlov. L.A. Portenko (as a researcher of the Arctic Institute and, subsequently, of the ZIN) collected extensive material on birds of the northern and eastern areas of Russia, from the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago to the Chukchi Peninsula and the Kuril Islands. A.I, Ivanov carried out vast field studies and collected extensive material from many regions of the USSR, Mongolia, and southern China. K.A. Yudin was an excellent collector and outstanding preparator of birds.

In addition to studies in taxonomy, faunistics, and biogeography, this department investigates the phylogeny, ecology, and protection of birds inhabiting the Palearctic. Much attention is given to the questions of species boundaries, intraspecific variation, speciation, and studies of the zones of secondary contacts and hybridization between closely related forms, mainly using the example of passerines (V.M. Loskot). Data on expenditure of energy for reproduction in adult birds, in particular, for mating and territorial behavior, nest building, synthesis of laying and incubation, and for raising nestlings were generalized; in nestlings, the expenditure of energy for self-maintenance and growth was estimated. Based on these data, the allometric equations for the dependence of the basic energy parameters of bird reproduction on body weight were estimated. This allows prediction of the energy requirements and expenditures of birds based on a small number of characteristics describing species, egg-laying, nests, and nestlings and accessible to field ornithologists (V.R. Dolnik).

The collections of the Department of Ornithology contain 167500 skins of 4238 bird species and extensive collections of downy nestlings, nests, eggs, skeletons, and preparations fixed in alcohol: a total of approximately 200000 accounting units. All the bird species inhabiting the former USSR and a number of adjacent countries are represented here; the faunas of North America and Southeast Asia are also rather completely represented. The collection includes a large number of type specimens of the species described by Russian zoologists and skins of 11 species and 6 subspecies of birds that died out or were exterminated in the 19th and 20th centuries, including the Pallas' cormorant (Phalocrocorax perspicillatus), the Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius), the great auk (Pinguinus impennis), and the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius).

The basic lines of investigation in the Department of Herpetology are studies on the taxonomy and faunistics of Asiatic amphibians and reptiles that are in keeping with the scientific traditions of this department. Ecological and morphological studies are also performed. Much attention is devoted to the problems of protection of amphibians and reptiles.

The collections of this department originate from the Cabinet of Curiosities, as the earliest materials acquired by Peter I included Seba's collection (1716), containing 120 amphibians and reptiles. The first directors of the Zoological Museum, the Academicians F.F. Brandt and A.A. Strauch, were herpetologists and enriched the collections with rare and interesting species. Strauch analyzed the available collections and published a series of fundamental monographs on the world faunas of turtles, crocodiles, lizards, and caudate amphibians; he also published the first review on the snakes of Russia. Among other things, Strauch examined the material collected by Przewalskii in Central Asia. A.M. Nikol'sky prepared a number of monographs on the herpetofauna of the Caucasus and Turkestan, as well as The Fauna of Amphibians and Reptiles of Russia, consisting of three volumes (1915, 1916, and 1918)*. Upon reorganization of the Zoological Museum into the Zoological Institute, the outstanding Russian herpetologist S.A. Chernov studied the collections of the Herpetological Department and published a set of papers and monographs; his most well-known work is Field Key to Reptiles and Amphibians of the USSR. prepared in collaboration with P.V. Terent'ev and republished in three editions (1936, 1940, and 1949) and translated into English in 1965. A follower of Chernov, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences I.S. Darevsky, is studying the processes of morphological development in reptiles, along with traditional taxonomic investigations. His classical studies on aisexual reproduction, polyploidy, and their role as a factor of speciation are renowned throughout the world. The collection of parthenogenetic lizards occupies a special place in the collections of the Herpetological Department.

In the last few decades, the researchers of the department have collected material in the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as during the Soviet-Mongolian Biological Expedition (1981-1988), ten expeditions to Vietnam, and expeditions to India, Nepal, and Laos. As a result of this work, a collection of species endemic to tropical forests, the coastal parts of oceans, and island systems was collected. It includes dozens of new species of frogs, lizards, and snakes, two new genera of skinks, and a series of cryptic and twin species. The researchers of the department have described more than 10% of the amphibian fauna of Vietnam. The success of these studies was facilitated, among other things, by widely applied methods of molecular analysis.

The collection of the Department of Herpetology contains 6120 accounting units of amphibians and 20838 reptiles, including more than 300 type specimens. In addition, it contains osteological and paleontological material (about 1000 accounting units).

The Laboratory of Ichthyology. The fish collections transferred to the Zoological Museum when it separated from the Cabinet of Curiosities (1832) were the most extensive in comparison with the collections of other animal groups. Even the exhibits purchased by Peter I for the Cabinet of Curiosities were preserved and supplemented with material collected by the adjunct of the Academy of Sciences A.K. Mertens during an around-the-world voyage of the sloop Senyavin under the command of Admiral RP. Litke, in the

The references to most studies mentioned in the text are given in The Zoological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 150 Years (1982). The list of references given at the end of this paper includes the studies concerning theoretical aspects of biological diversity and the history of the collection of the ZIN only.

Philippines and Caroline Islands (1828); specimens received from or purchased in Brazil and Haiti; and a fish collection from the Caucasus. The Zoological Museum obtained extensive material on fish fauna during the expeditions organized in the late 18th and early 19th century; these expeditions involved S.P. Krasheninnikov, Academicians I.G. Georgi, S.G. Gmelin, J.A. Guldenstadt, V.F. Zuev, I.I. Lepekhin, N.Ya. Ozeretskovsky, P.S. Pallas, and A.F. Middendorf, and other explorers. The fish collections of the Zoological Museum were enriched with extremely extensive material collected by I.G. Voznesensky. Valuable collections were received from Przewalsky and other explorers of Central Asia, Northern China, Iran, etc.

The type collection of the Laboratory of Ichthyology of the ZIN includes the type specimens of the fish species described by K.F. Kessler and by the corresponding members of the Academy of Sciences M. Ratke and A.D. Nordman on the basis of materials from Middle and Central Asia, the Black and Caspian seas, and the Aral-Caspian-Pontic region. Late in the 19th century, the Zoological Museum received a large fish collection from the Smithsonian Institute by exchange; the other collection containing the type specimens of fish species from the Red Sea was bought from K.B. Kluzinger, who described these species in the review Die Fische der Rotes Meeres (1870). In 1880-1894, S.M. Gertsenshtein identified, catalogued, and systematized all fish material from the collection of the department received during his work and earlier. We should note the value of the Expedition for Scientific and Fishery Investigations near the Murman shore organized by the well-known zoologist and ichthyologist, Academician N.M. Knipowitsch. The collections received by the Zoological Museum during this expedition (1898-1909) using the Pomor and Andrei Perwoswanniy vessels and the material obtained from the Azov and Black seas (1923) were extremely extensive and were analyzed mainly by N.M. Knipowitsch.

The collection of freshwater fishes was first examined by Academician L.S. Berg. He published the studies providing the basis of Fishes of Fresh Waters (1916), a fundamental review repeatedly republished in 1948 and 1949. The fish collection from Lake Baikal was founded in the midto late 19th century (Maak, 1855; Radde, 1856; Chekanovsky, 1868; Soldatov, 1898; etc.). Currently, this is the world's most representative collection; it consists of 1500 fishes of 56 species, including numerous specimens of all 30 endemic species of this lake.

The fishes of the Far East seas were first investigated by P.Yu. Shmidt, who collected and examined extensive material (1927-1940). A rich collection of deepwater fishes was collected by V.V. Fedorov and A.V. Balushkin during the Russian-Japanese Scientific Expeditions (1993-1995). The analysis of material on the Triglidae, Gadiformes, and Clupeidae resulted in the publication of the first ichthyological volumes of The Fauna of the USSR (Svetovidov, 1936,1948,1952;Barsukov, 1959). A review on fishes of the Black Sea was published by Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences A.N. Svetovidov in 1964. The studies on the fish collection from the Far East seas performed by G.U. Lindberg resulted in the publication of the four-volume book Fishes of the Japanese Sea and Adjacent Parts of the Sea of Okhotsk and the Yellow Sea, written in collaboration with M.I. Legeza (1959, 1965) and Z.V. Krasyukova (1969, 1975). Krasyukova and Fedorov prepared the last three volumes of this unique book (1987, 1993, 1997), which has no analogues in world literature. The fish collection from the Arctic and Far East seas collected and examined by Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences A.P. Andriyashev allowed him to prepare a fundamental review (1954), which was subsequently translated into English (1964). The collection on the subfamily Sebastinae allowed V.V. Barsukov to revise this subfamily within the entire World Ocean.

The Complex Soviet Antarctic Expeditions began working in 1955-1956 and provided the basis for studying Antarctic fishes. The material on Antarctic fishes was collected during these expeditions by A.P. Andriyashev, V.V. Barsukov, V.P. Prirodina, A.V. Neelov, A.V. Balushkin, E.N. Gruzov, A.F. Pushkin, and A.M. Sheremetevsky. The examination of Antarctic fishes headed by Andriyashev was followed by a series of papers describing a large number of new species and by revisions (Andriyashev, 1958-1967). The collection of Liparidae from the Antarctic is currently being examined by Andriyashev. The Antarctic fishes collection is the world's most representative collection, as it includes all known species of the Southern Ocean.

The fish collection of the Laboratory of Ichthyology contains approximately 56000 accounting units (about 170000 fishes) of 8700 species, including more than 900 type specimens.

The Laboratory of Marine Researchs. The first marine invertebrates appeared in the Zoological Museum owing to the activity of Peter I, who used to return from his trips with zoological rarities for the Cabinet of Curiosities. Collection of marine invertebrates became purposeful in the late 18th and early 19th century; this was based on individual and expedition collecting by navigators and naturalists in the Arctic (Academicians I.I. Lepekhin, K.M. Baer, and many others), Antarctic (the expedition headed by F.F. Bellingshausen on the Vostok and Mimyi vessels), and in the Caspian and Black seas (Academician P.S. Pallas). The material on marine invertebrates collected in the Far East is particularly representative. This material was collected by the Siberian and Kamchatka expeditions, in particular, by the Fourth Kamchatka Expedition headed by V. Bering, the Secret Expedition headed by N.I, Billings, the voyages of the Nadezhda and Neva marine vessels commanded by I.F. Krusenstern and Yu.F. Lisyansky, the voyages of the Ryurik and Predpriyatie vessels commanded by O.E. Kotzebue, the expedition headed by I.G. Voznesensky in "the Russian area of northwestern America," etc.

In the latter half of the 19th century and early in the 20th century, Arctic marine fauna was collected more intensively. The famous Expedition for Scientific and Fishery Investigations near the Murman shore organized by N.M. Knipowitsch worked constantly in the Zoological Museum from 1899 till 1921. Material on Arctic marine invertebrates was also collected by the future director of the Zoological Museum A.A. Byalynitsky-Birulya at Spitzbergen (1899) and by the Russian Polar Expedition headed by E.V. Toll' and using the schooner Zarya (1900-1903). Some material was collected by the hydrographic expeditions using the vessels Taimyr, Vaigach, and Okhotsk, thanks to the physicians participating in these voyages, F.A. Derbek (1908-1912), L.M. Starokadomsky (1910-1914), N.G. Shiryaev (1913), and G.R. Medder (1914-1918). During the Second International Polar Year (1932), the ZIN received material collected by high-latitude expeditions organized by Glavsevmorput' (the Principal North Marine Passage) using the icebreakers Sibiryakov, Sedov, Rusanov, Malygin, Litke, and Krasin. The materials of these expeditions were used for the monographs devoted to the benthic faunas from shallow waters at the Novosibirskie Islands, the central part of the Arctic Ocean (Gorbunov, 1946), the Chukchi Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk (Ushakov, 1952, 1953). In 1936, the ZIN obtained materials collected by Prof. K.M. Deryugin, the founder of the Leningrad school of marine hydrobiologists. In the postwar period, the Kuril-Sakhalin Expedition headed by G.U. Lindberg was organized by the ZIN and the Pacific Ocean Institute of Fishery and Oceanography (abbreviated in Russian as TINRO) (1947-1949). The results of the investigations into the material collected by this expeditions were, for the most part, published in reviews and monographs; however, scientists continue to reveal new species in this collection and use it as valuable comparative material.

Deepsea trawling was first employed in our country in the 1940s and 1950s using the icebreaker Severnyi Polyus on the eastern coasts of the Kamchatka Peninsula (1946, A.P. Andriyashev and K.A. Brodsky) and using the icebreakers Litke and Ob' (1955 and 1956, V.M. Koltun) in the Arctic Basin. Trawling performed in 1995 by the Russian-German Expedition using the Polarstern vessel in the Kara and Laptev seas enriched the collection of marine invertebrates with new species and new data on the fauna of these waters. Noteworthy materials were collected by the drifting polar stations SP-1 to SP-23. Systematic work in the waters of the Barents and White seas became possible after the foundation of the Murmansk Biological Station (1939) in the Dal'ne-Zelenetskaya Inlet and the Biological Station of the ZIN on Cape Kartesh in the Chupa Inlet of the White Sea (1963), subsequently named after O.A. Skarlato. As a result of stationary systematic collecting, the marine invertebrates of the White and Barents seas are most completely represented in the ZIN.

Owing to the International Year of Geophysics (1955-1956), the Complex Soviet Antarctic Expeditions began working; the researchers of the ZIN participated in these studies (1955-1958) and in subsequent expeditions (1965-1966, 1967-1968, 1971-1972). In addition, the collections contain materials of a number of groups collected by French Antarctic expeditions in the D'Urville Sea (1961-1965) and materials collected by the Russian research vessels Skif (1969-1975), Akademik Knipovich (1965-1967), Zund (1974), Evrika (1987), and Akademik Fedorov (1989), and by the German Polarstern vessel (1996, 1998), etc. Due to this international circumantarctic work, the material on marine invertebrates from the Antarctic and Subantarctic regions stored in the ZIN are recognized by scientists throughout the world as the most complete collection. The ZIN collection of Antarctic marine invertebrates provided the material for a number of monographs on sponges (Koltun, 1964), isopod crustaceans (Kussakin, 1967), bristle worms (Averintsev, 1972), hydroids (Stepanjants, 1979), bivalves (Egorova, 1982), pantopods (Pushkin, 1996), etc. The materials on plankton occupy a prominent place among the collections of the Laboratory of Marine Research; for a long time, the enlargement, systematization, and examination of this collection was headed by K.A. Brodsky (45000 accounting units). The plankton collection of the ZIN and the rich bibliographic database on plankton created by I.A. Kiselev, the most highly experienced planktonologist of our country, allowed him to prepare a valuable handbook entitled Plankton morel i kontinental'nykh vodoemov (Plankton of Seas and Inland Waters, vols. 1 and 2 published in 1969 and 1980, respectively).

From 1960 to 1980, the marine invertebrate collection of the ZIN was substantially enriched with materials collected by expeditions using the Vityaz, Akademik Kurchatov, Dmitry Mendeleev, Kanopus, Kalisto, Odissey, etc., research vessels. The material collected by the researchers of these vessels enriched the exposition of the Zoological Museum. In the 1980s, the researchers of the Laboratory of Marine Research participated in expeditions to the northern and tropical parts of the Pacific Ocean using the Tikhookeansky, Oparin, and Akademik Korolev vessels and enriched the marine invertebrate collections of the ZIN with representatives of Pacific fauna. South Vietnamese molluscs, exotic isopod crustaceans, and deepwater crabs were collected for the first time.

Analysis of the collections allowed the researchers not only to study the species composition of invertebrates from seas and oceans, but to examine their distribution and interactions with the environment as well. Studies on the structure, composition, and distribution of particular ecosystems in various seas of the World Ocean occupy a significant place in the work of this laboratory.

The collection of the Laboratory of Marine Research contains Protozoa (13000 accounting units), Porifera and Cnidaria (170000), Nemertini (25000), Nematoda (5000), Polychaeta (220000), Bryozoa (98000), lower Crustacea (7000), higher Crustacea (220000), marine Bivalvia (223000), marine Gastropoda (197000), terrestrial and freshwater molluscs (302000), Cephalopoda (6500), Polyplacophora (12000), Echinodermata (75000), and Tunicata (16000). Thus, this collection contains approximately 1700000 accounting units.

The Laboratory of Freshwater and Experimental Hydrobiology. The collection of freshwater invertebrates was founded by the outstanding hydrobiologists A.S. Skorikov, V.M. Rylov, P.D. Rezvoi, I.A. Kiselev, I.N. Filip'ev, and V.I. Zhadin. The material on the lower Crustacea from fresh waters was collected and examined by the noted planktonologists A.L. Benning, S.S. Smirnov, and N.A. Akatova. The collection on the suborder Calanoida is currently being examined by L.A. Stepanova, who has also prepared for publication a review on this group that was begun but not completed by E.V. Borutskii. The Cladocera collection is currently being examined by V.R. Alekseev. The collection of free-living nematodes was founded by I.N. Filip'ev. The Laboratory of Freshwater Hydrobiology possesses a part of his collection, represented by preparations of freshwater nematodes. Collections of nematodes from Africa (Ethiopia, Lake Tanganyika), Australia, Oceania, South America, Mongolia, Lake Baikal, Issyk Kul. and the relic Japanese Lake Biwa are also stored in this laboratory. Subsequent to I.N. Filip'ev, these collections were analyzed by E.S. Kir'yanova and they are currently being examined by S.Ya. Tsalolikhin. The monographs prepared by Tsalolikhin, Nematodes from Baikal (1981) and Nematodes from Fresh and Brackish Waters of Mongolia (1985), are well known throughout the world. The collections of freshwater and soil Oligohaetae were analyzed by L.A. Lastochkin beginning in the 1930s, and, subsequently, by O.V. Chekanovskaya; currently, they are being examined by N.P. Finogenova. As a result of studies on the Rotifera collection, a volume of Opredeliteli po faune SSSR (Keys to the Fauna of the USSR) was published (Kutikova, 1970). Aquatic insects, predominantly larval midges, were examined by V.Ya. Pankratova; they are currently being studied by E.V. Balushkina. An extensive collection of water mites (Hydracarina) was transferred to the ZIN by I.I. Sokolov. Terrestrial molluscs are currently being studied by Ya.I. Starobogatov. Studies on the collections of fresh- water invertebrate faunas resulted in the publication of a multivolume collective monograph entitled Opredelitel' presnovodnykh bespozvonochnykh Russii i sopredel'nykh territorii (Key to Freshwater Invertebrates of Russia and Adjacent Territories, S. Ya. Tsalolikhin, Ed.).

The faunal and taxonomic studies of inland waters based on the collections and work with living material during expeditions promote the investigations initiated by Prof. G.G. Winberg and continued by Prof. A.F. Alimov in the field of biological theory for the production capacity of water basins using the balance approach and energetic principle and developing the ecological physiology of particular groups of hydrobionts. This problem comprises many aspects, including the studies of formation mechanisms and interactions between the energy flows, substances, and information on the ecosystems; the function of and relations between the detritus and pasture food chains; the structure and function of communities of various hydrobionts in the ecosystems; etc. The application of the structural and functional approach to ecosystem studies has allowed development of a theory for water ecosystem functioning. In a number of cases, the studies on animal taxonomy and faunistics and the approach based on the production capacity are interpenetrative. Studies on the mathematical modeling of ecosystems initiated by A.A. Umnov are currently being developed in the laboratory.

The collection of inland water invertebrates stored in the Laboratory of Freshwater Hydrobiology consists of 16 000 accounting units represented mainly by preparations.

The Laboratory of Brackish-Water Biology, founded in 1989, supervises the state of biota in the Aral Sea within the framework of the Project for Rehabilitation of the Aral Sea developed by UNESCO. These studies, performed together with foreign colleagues, have allowed the development of the basis of fundamental monitoring of this unique basin. The collection of this laboratory consists of benthos and plankton from the Aral Sea.

The Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy possesses the largest collections. However, specimens originating from the Cabinet of Curiosities are rare here, as the methods for the protection of entomological collections against vermin were not developed at that time; therefore, these undoubtedly rich and noteworthy collections were lost. E. Menetries, the first conservator of the collections, who began working at the museum in 1826, could hardly sort out a hundred intact specimens. Therefore, the collection was founded on the basis of materials collected by Menetries in Brazil and in the Antilles. This researcher actively enlarged the museum collections by collecting in the wild, by exchange, and by receiving insects from competent entomologists and amateur collectors mainly as gifts and, occasionally, by purchase. For example, the Diptera collection contains materials described in the early 19th century by the famous ento- mologist Meigen and purchased for the museum. A magnificent collection of butterflies was received from E.A. Eversman, who collected insects in the Ural Mountains and Central Asia. Menetries and his colleagues laid the foundation for the collection of Russian insects, and, in 1859, his followers established the Russian Entomological Society. The expeditions organized by the Zoological Museum and the Geographical Society enriched the insect collections with many thousands of specimens; in addition, extensive collections were quite often bequeathed or donated. The history of one particular collection should by considered in detail.

Thirty mahogany cases filled with butterflies are in the fund depository. This is the collection of Grand Prince Nikolayi Mikhailovich. He is generally recognized as a historian, but he was also an experienced entomologist, passionate collector, and publisher and one of the authors of the gorgeously illustrated ninevolume handbook Memoirs on the Lepidoptera, which contains studies of well-known lepidopterologists of the 19th century. In 1900, he transferred his collection of 110220 specimens to the Zoological Museum.

The entomological collections were examined by the researchers of the museum, the prominent Russian entomologists G.G. Yakobson, A.K. Mordvilko, A.V. Martynov, N.Ya. Kuznetsov, and A.P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky (son of the great explorer), who perished during the blockade. Beginning in the 1920s, the collections grew rapidly. Extremely interesting material was collected in 1928 during the Pamir expedition by A.N. Reikhardt, who died of starvation at his workplace in 1942. The founder of the successful Leningrad (nowadays, St. Petersburg) dipterological school A.A. Shtakel'berg collected Diptera in Leningrad oblast, Central Asia, and the Far East for more than 50 years. A.N. Kirichenko began collecting true bugs as early as the early 20th century. Orthoptera were collected by E.E Miram, who died during the blockade. Beginning in the 1950s, the laboratory (originally, the Department of Terrestrial Invertebrates) developed a strong expedition program. The first complex expedition was to Western Kazakhstan (1951-1953); it was followed by the Turkmenian (1951-1953), Chinese-Soviet zoological and botanical (1955-1957), and North Caucasian (1960) expeditions, and the Complex Zoological and Botanical Expeditions to Central Kazakhstan and the Amursk oblast (1957-1962). In addition, the expeditions to Kyzyl Kum and the Pamirs (1964), the Pamir expedition (1965), and some others were organized. The outstanding entomologists, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences V.V. Popov, D.M. Shteinberg, O.L. Kryzhanovsky L.V. Arnol'di, and many others participated in these expeditions. A prominent place was occupied by the Soviet-Mongolian Complex Biological Expedition from 1967 to the late 1970s. The field studies were headed by A.F. Emel'yanov and M.A. Kozlov; the studies published in collected articles Nasekomue Mongolii (Insects of Mongolia, 11 vols., 1972-1990) were edited by I.M. Kerzhner. Extensive materials were collected by G.S. Medvedev and V.F. Zaitsev in Sri Lanka and Australia, by E.S. Sugonyaev in Afghanistan and Vietnam, by V.A. Tryapitsin in Mexico, and by a number of researchers in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

Until the late 1980s, the researchers of the laboratory participated in field studies in almost all regions of the USSR, from the trans-Carpathian region to the Kuril Islands and from Kushka to Wrangel Island, and brought a great number of specimens for the collections. These specimens provide information on the faunas in regions that are currently inaccessible or barely accessible to Russian expeditions (some regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia) and will allow researchers to study these faunas for a long time.

We should also mention dozens of collectors and amateurs who transferred or bequeathed their collections to the Zoological Museum and the ZIN. Thus, P.P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky donated his collection of beetles. A well-known aircraft designer V.B. Shavrov bequeathed a collection of Donacinae beetles and a rich entomological library; the chemist A.A. Bundel' bequeathed butterflies from the Pamirs; and the outstanding geneticist S.S. Chetverikov donated more than 10000 butterflies. The geologist and State Prize Laureate O.N. Kabakov annually brings plentiful collections of beetles from remote expeditions, studies them, and transfers them to the institute. N.N. Vorontsov transferred a collection of tropical cicadas to the laboratory.

As a result of research activity, the laboratory has accumulated an extensive scientific potential in taxonomy, phylogeny, evolution, and zoogeography of insects; this enables analysis of faunas of various regions of the world. Studies on insect taxonomy provide the foundation for resolving a wide range of problems, such as the problem of plant protection and conservation. The development of biological methods of pest control and integrated systems for plant protection necessitates identification of a large number of organisms that is possible only on the basis of fundamental keys to various groups produced by the laboratory. The researchers of the laboratory focus on studies on entomophagous insects. In the last ten years, much has been done in studies of various nonparasitic insect groups, in particular, of phytophagous insects, pollinators, producers of food biomass for useful animals, and destroyers of organic substance.

The laboratory produces computer databanks on taxonomy and faunistics based on the collections. They are used for testing specialized software packages for personal computers developed in the laboratory and enable the storage and processing of data on the geographical distribution of insects. Specialized programs for constructing phylogenetic schemes and classifications are widely used. An original software package enabling identification of insect specimens in the dialogue mode has been created and is improved regularly.

The laboratory includes a department of karyosystematics and insect population genetics. The researchers of this department study flies possessing giant polytene chromosomes and insects possessing holokinetic chromosomes lacking localized centromeres. The objects of study include black flies and midges (L.A. Chubareva and N.A. Petrova), aphids, cicadas, tme bugs, leafhoppers, butterflies, and earwigs (V.G. Kuznetsova). In addition to fundamental research (karyosystematics, subspecies formation, and speciation), the researchers of the department develop application studies, including cytogenetic monitoring of model populations and species under the influence of anthropogenic factors. The department has gained general recognition as a center of methodic research in insect cytogenetics. The existence of this department within the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy has aroused the interest of insect taxonomists in the use of karyological data. This provides additional arguments for substantiation of the taxonomic status of certain species and groups, revealing their relationships, and for phylogenetic reconstructions.

The result of studies performed in the laboratory have been published in many thousands of publications, including a great number of monographs. By way of example, note that, of 312 volumes of fundamental serial works published by the institute, one-half is devoted to insects, and the overwhelming majority of these entomological monographs are written by the researchers of this laboratory.

The volumes of collections stored in the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy are listed in Table 2.

Table 2. The collections stored in the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy



Beetles and weevils (Coleoptera)

Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera)

Plant lice (Aphididae)

True flies (Diptera)

Crickets, locusts, and grasshoppers (Orthoptera)

Stoneflies (Plecoptera)

Scale insects and mealy bugs (Coccoidea)

Bees, wasps, and ants (Hymenoptera)

True bugs (Hemiptera)













Among the millions of insects, there are tens of thousands of type specimens of great value to researchers.

The collection of the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy is justly considered to be one of the best entomological museum collections of the world. Entomologists and insect taxonomists from many countries plan their work in view of visiting the collection of the ZIN. A fragment of an essay of Doctor Robert Angus (Oxford, London), who worked twice in the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy of the ZIN, is as follows.

An Impression of the ZIN Coleoptera Collections:

I first had the privilege of working with the ZIN Coleoptera collections in 1969-1970... on Palaearctic species of the water beetle genus Helophorus F, and had developed a particular interest in the Russian fauna ...action was to work through all thematerial, revising the identifications and integrating the different collections into a coherent whole. This gradual review of the collection took me about five months, and was an extremely rewarding experience. Although some components of the material had suffered neglect in the past (Zaitsev's collection had, I was told, been "rescued" from Tbilisi some years after his death), no vital material was lost.

The main ZIN collections (including the reworked Helophorus) are housed in strongly made birchwood cabinets whose drawer lids are ingeniously constructed to resist warping. These collections are well maintained, properly curated, and free from vermin. The Helophorus collection contains most of the Palaearctic species—a tribute to the judicious exchanging of specimens by specialists of past ages. I was able (with help!) to locate all the expected types (of Zaitsev, Semenov, Yakovlev, etc.). as well as a few paratypes from Motschulsky, J. Sahlberg, Poppius, and Mannerheim. However, important as these types (especially of Russian authors) undoubtedly are, the main richness of the collections strikes me as being the wealth of the distributional data they contain. And it is not just the old material that represents this wealth—when I made a return visit to ZIN in 1982,1 was shown, among other things, a Helophorus recently collected in the Kalmuck Republic by a research student. The species involved was H. hammondi, which I had described from Manchuria, and which my first visit to ZIN had showed to be widely distributed in the eastern Palaearctic— but I don't anyone, even in a dream, would have guessed it would be found in Europe!... One final aspect of this active and ongoing research comes from a second visit I made to ZIN in 1982, to apply chromosomal techniques I had developed subsequent to my first visit. As always in ZIN, I received enthusiastic and interested help in my endeavours, and was introduced to the relatively newly formed genetics laboratory, where the animals studied included various insects as well as reptiles. Work in this laboratory, and the chance to discuss matters with like-minded colleagues, enabled me to improve some of my research techniques and make some interesting discoveries ...

The Laboratory of Parasitology. It is believed that parasitological studies were first developed in the Zoological Museum in 1924, when Academician E.N. Pavlovsky and A.A. Shtakel'berg initiated the foundation of the Permanent Commission for Studying Malarial Mosquitoes at the museum. This commission united and managed the parasitological work of many beginners. Simultaneously, these scientists published a series of precepts for mosquito identification and methodical instructions on collecting and studying bloodsucking arthropods. With the reorganization of the Zoological Museum into the institute in 1930, the Department of Parasitology was established, headed by E.N. Pavlovsky; the Department consisted of him and only one researcher/technician. In 1934 and 1935, the department was transformed into a division consisting of two laboratories dealing with arachnoentomology (D.I. Blagoveshchensky, A.S. Monchadsky, and B.I. Pomerantsev) and parasitic worms. In 1937-1940, some researchers participated in an expedition to the Far East organized by NARKOMZDRAV (the People's Commissariat of Public Health) for studying the carriers of Russian tick-borne and Japanese encephalitides. In 1939, B.I. Pomerantsev, an outstanding tick expert, caught encephalitis while working on the disease and died. The field studies on encephalitis in comparison with the data on a number of diseases investigated in Central Asia by many expeditions were summarized by E.N. Pavlovsky and resulted in a general conclusion of great theoretical and practical importance: the doctrine of the natural focality of transmissible (transmitted by insects and ticks) diseases.

During the war, the Department of Parasitology, along with the entire institute, was evacuated to Tajikistan where the researchers made full use of the opportunity for year-round field work provided by the conditions of Central Asia and built up a great reserve for further studies. From the early postwar period until very recently, the department organized expeditions in Russia, the republics of the former USSR, and abroad (China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria). This, in particular, provided the museum with extensive collections. The department (ranked as a separate laboratory in 1977) developed studies in a number of fields. These studies concerned ticks belonging to the Ixodoidea (Yu.S. Balashov, N.A. Filippova, and G.V. Serdyukova), various other groups of ticks (V.B. Dubinin, N.V. Bregetova, V.I. Volgin, E.V. Dubinina, L.G. Sitnikova, S.V. Mironov, and A.B. Shatrov), the assemblage of bloodsucking Diptera (A.S. Monchadsky, A.N. Berzina, K.A. Breev, I.S. Amosova, V.M. Glukhova, and A.V. Yankovsky), fleas (S.O. Vysotskaya, V.S. Vashchenok, and S.G. Medvedev), and lice (D.I. Blagoveshchensky). The results of these studies were published in more than 40 volumes of Fauna SSSR (The Fauna of the USSR), in Fauna Rossii i sopredel 'nykh stran (The Fauna of Russia and Adjacent Countries), in Opredeliteli po faune ... ( Guide-books to the Fauna ...), in 20 volumes of Parazitologicheskogo sbornika (Parasitological Collected Articles), and in many monographs and papers.

Based on complex investigation of particular groups of parasitic and bloodsucking arthropods, the researchers proposed original phylogenetic schemes and essentially contributed to the understanding of the evolutionary features characteristic of these animals. Complex life cycles represented by the alternation of life forms at different phases of individual development of the same species (free-living and parasitic or parasitic of various extent of interdependence between parasite and host) and polyvalent interrelations of the same transmitting species with the hosts and pathogens increase the role of each species in the formation of knowledge about biological diversity.

Studies on soft ticks (Argasidae) provided the foundation for solving the questions of taxonomy of bloodsucking ticks transmitting infections on the basis of knowledge concerning all active phases of individual development (Filippova, 1966). A revision of the Ixodoidea (Filippova, 1977, 1997) doubled the species composition of this group within the Russian fauna. The materials on fleas were stored spread out in the ZIN and in various antiplague institutions of the former USSR. This substantially impeded the preparation of a generalized review on this group of great epidemiological significance. To summarize the extensive primary data, S.G. Medvedev (together with A.L. Lobanov) created a computer database consisting of 76 thousand records and characterized by a structure allowing the accumulation of new data, the analysis of the patterns of geographic distribution and interrelations between parasite and host characteristic of fleas, and the generalization of information on flea morphology. The database has provided the basis for preparation of a volume of Fauna of Russia devoted to this group. The studies on the Analgesoidea initiated by V.B. Dubinin (1956) are being successfully developed nowadays. As a result of field studies and examination of fund collections housed at the ZIN and other museums of the world, the number of species assigned to this group increased from 300 to 800 (S.V. Mironov).

The laboratory develops studies devoted to various groups of parasites and comprising a number of fields of ecological parasitology. Along with the problems of general ecological parasitology, these studies concern significant practical questions closely associated with the protection of livestock and humans against bloodsucking arthropods.

The researchers of the laboratory focus on various aspects of interrelations between parasites and hosts. Originally, this work concerned Ixodoidea ticks (Yu.S. Balashov); subsequently, fleas (V.S. Vashchenok), trombiculid mites (A.B. Shatrov), and bloodsucking true flies were studied as well. The results of these studies were summarized in a number of reviews and original monographs, in particular, the handbooks Parazito-khoz.yainnye otnosheniya chlenistonogikh i nazemnymi pozvonochnymi (Parasite-Host Interrelations between Arthropods and Terrestrial Vertebrates, Balashov, 1982) and Blokhi—perenoschiki votbuditelei bolemei cheloveka i zhivotnykh (Fleas as Transmitters of Pathogens of Man and Animals. Vashchenok, 1988). The monograph Taez.hnyi kleshch (Taiga Tick), which summarized long-term studies on the main transmitter of Russian tick-bome encephalitis in the former USSR, was published by a group of researchers (1985, N.A. Filippova, Ed.) within the framework of the series Vidy fauny SSSR i sopredel'nykh stran (Species of the Fauna of the USSR and Adjacent Countries).

The collections stored in the laboratory mainly cover the Palearctic and some other regions. Materials on the following groups are presented.

The Ixodoidea are represented by the materials of many expeditions of the 19th and early 20th century. Thus, they were collected by I.G. Voznesensky in the Aleutian Islands; by Kaizerling in Teheran; by N.M. Przhewalsky in Mongolia, Tibet, and Nan Shan; by B.A. Grombchevsky in Xinxiang; by G.N. Potanin in Mongolia; by P.K. Kozlov in Eastern Tibet and Mongolia; and by the diplomat S.P. Trubetskoy in India and Kashmir. A unique feature of this collection is the presence of the active ontogenetic phases of all species inhabiting the former USSR and adjacent areas; moreover, each species is relatively completely represented within its entire range. This particularly concerns the species characterized by extensive ranges and transmitting the pathogens of extremely dangerous infections. World fauna is also represented rather completely. A catalogue of type specimens stored in this collection has been published. The collection includes more than 11500 preparations (approximately 250000 identified specimens) and 6500 flasks containing material preserved in alcohol. The collection is made up of a total of 1000000 specimens.

The gamasid mite collection was founded by N.G. Bregetova in 1939. It includes 10000 preparations, each of which contains several dozen mites fixed in For-Berleze solution. There are also 45000 preparations of free-living and parasitic gamasid mites fixed in alcohol, 1500 tubes containing 50000 specimens. The collection of type specimens includes 215 taxa.

The trombiculid mite collection was initiated by the standard materials obtained by E.G. Shiuger, the first expert in the taxonomy of trombiculid mites in the USSR, and received by the ZIN in the 1960s. Subsequently, the collection was substantially enlarged with expedition materials. Currently, it contains material on 120 species, including 9 type specimens. A computer catalogue of this collection has been created and is functioning. The collection consists of approximately 8000 specimens.

The Analgesoidea and Myobiidae collections were founded by V.B. Dubinin early in the 1950s. Subsequently, they were enriched with material from Moldova collected by R.P. Shumilov and with half of a private collection transferred by J. Gaud (France). The Analgesoidea collection consists of 20000 preparations and 3000 tubes and the Myobiidae collection consists of 2000 preparations and 4000 tubes.

The Acariformes collection was founded by V.I. Volgin and includes 5000 preparations and 7000 tubes.

The Oribatidae collection was founded by L.G. Sitnikova and currently includes 13000 preparations and 7000 tubes.

The Trombidiidae collection consists of 5000 preparations and 1000 tubes. The collection of type specimens includes 400 species.

The lice collection contains a total of 5300 preparations, including 16000 specimens. The biting lice (Mallophaga) collection includes more than 20000 specimens.

The flea collection was founded late in the 1920s. The preparations produced by Yu.N. Vagner, a pioneer of the study of fleas in Russia, were collected together; this collection was formed with the participation of A.I. Argiropulo, a mammalian expert who died during the blockade. From 1948 to 1984, S.O. Vysotskaya was the curator of this collection and enriched it with her own collected material and with extensive materials received from the Mikrob institute (Microbe, Saratov) and from antiplague institutions. As a result, the collection contains the imaginal and larval stages of 542 flea species from Russia and foreign countries. A total of 15000 preparations and 3500 tubes containing material preserved in alcohol are stored in this collection.

The biting midge (Ceratopogonidae) collection contains 140 preparations produced by B.I. Pomerantsev and extensive material collected by V.M. Glukhova. It includes material from the Palearctic and Nearctic (North America). The larvae collection is particularly unique; it surpasses all collections of this kind in volume and species diversity. It consists of 4600 attached insects, 30000 preparations, and 22000 tubes containing dried and fixed material.

The parasitic botfly (Oestridae), bloodsucking black fly (Simuliidae), mosquito (Culicidae), and gadfly (Tabanidae) are stored in the Department of Diptera of the Laboratory of Insect Taxonomy.

The Laboratory of Evolutionary Morphology originated from the Moscow Laboratory of Embryology headed by Academician I.I. Schmalhausen and initially founded within the Institute of Evolutionary Morphology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Moscow). In 1948, after the notorious session of VASKhNIL (Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences), it was rescued by Academician E.N. Pavlovsky, who gained permission to transfer the laboratory to the ZIN. Subsequently, the Department of the Laboratory of Embryology was founded in Leningrad (1965). In 1968, it was renamed the Laboratory of Evolutionary Morphology, as the main line of investigation was predominantly concerned with the evolution of systems and organs of various invertebrates and vertebrates; subsequently, when the Moscow department of the laboratory was finally transferred to the Institute of Evolutionary Morphology and Animal Ecology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow (1976), the Leningrad department became a specific laboratory of the ZIN.

As the main purpose of the Laboratory of Evolutionary Morphology is to study the relationships of the main animal groups and to construct a natural system of the animal kingdom, a number of key animal groups, such as Turbellaria, Phoronida, Ascidiae, and Pogonophora (including the Vestimentifera), are examined. The Pogonophora collection was founded by Academician A.V. Ivanov on the basis of materials obtained in the expeditions on the research vessel Vityaz (1949-1960). The Vestimentifera were collected during the deepwater expeditions of the Institute ofOceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which studied the hydrotherms in the tectonically active zones of the oceanic floor in the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean. The Pogonophora and Vestimentifera collection currently consists of approximately 80 species. The Turbellaria collection was formed on the basis of material collected by the researchers of the laboratory in the White Sea and in the Sea of Japan at the Vostok Station of the Institute of Marine Biology of the Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Ascidiae collection examined by the researcher of this laboratory V.N. Romanov is partially stored in the Laboratory of Marine Research.

The studies performed on the basis of collections housed at this laboratory and other funds of the ZIN allow the central problems of comparative anatomy predominantly relevant to the lower multicellular animals to be solved and specific systems of organs, such as the nervous system, alimentary system, tissue and cellular organization, etc., to be comparatively analyzed.

The collection of the Laboratory of Evolutionary Morphology includes more than 15000 accounting units of Pogonophora, Vestimentifera, Phoronoidea, Ascidiae, and Turbellaria.

The Laboratory of Protozoology was founded in 1944; subsequently, it was incorporated into the Laboratory of Marine Research (1970); in 1975, it became an isolated unit once again. The collection of this laboratory was founded simultaneously with the collections of the Department of Hydrobiology of the ZIN. Extensive material on Foraminifera from the Arctic, Far East seas, northern part of the Pacific Ocean, Yellow Sea, Tonkinskii Gulf, northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Antarctic Region were examined by Z.G. Shchedrina (1930 to 1970), and, subsequently, by T.G. Lukina and V.I. Mikhalevitch. During the Kuril-Sakhalin Expedition, studies in the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea, the basin of the Caribbean Sea, and the Soviet Antarctic expeditions, A.A. Strelkov collected material on Radiolaria and subsequently examined it together with V.V. Reshetnyak and M.G. Petrushevskaya. A.V. Yankovsky collected and analyzed extensive material on ciliate infusorians. He also collected unique material on commensals that allowed him to develop the doctrine of commensalism. The laboratory stores a bank of cultures of a number of species of parasitic flagellates of the genus Tripanosoma.

The main avenue of fundamental investigation developed in this laboratory is the analysis of faunas, life cycles, morphofunctional organization, distribution, systems, and evolution of the major groups of the Protozoa, and the development of principles for constructing a macrosystem of the Protozoa.

The laboratory stores 58 preparations, 8 Blastocystida hapantotypes **; 5700 samples, 7000 preparations, and 42 Radiolaria hapantotypes; extensive material on Trypanosomatida (200 preparations, 10 hapantotypes, and a bank of living cultures containing 37 isolates belonging to four genera); 2000 Myxosporidia preparations; and 3000 samples, 3600 preparations, and 220 hapantotypes of Ciliophora. A total of approximately 30000 accounting units is stored in the collection of the Laboratory of Protozoology.

The Laboratory for the Study of Parasitic Worms appeared in 1989; however, the collections stored in this laboratory were founded as early as the 19th century and included materials collected by the Academicians K.M. Baer, A.F. Middendorf, and L.I. Schrenk, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences A.A. Byalynitsky-Birulya, N.M. Przewalsky, and other researchers. Once the Permanent Commission for the Study of the Helminthic Fauna of the USSR, chaired by the Academician K.I. Skryabin, had been established in the ZIN (1922), the collections were enlarged and examined systematically. Notwithstanding the fact that the Commission was actually based in Moscow and subsequently became the basis for the establishment of the All-Union Society of Helminthologists, the collections on parasitic worms were accumulated in the ZIN. In the 1930s and 1940s, B.E. Bykhovsky (future Academician), I.E. Bykhovskaya-Pavlovskaya, A.V. Gusev, M.N. Dubinina, and other disciples of Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences V.A. Dogel became researchers of the ZIN. They established ecological and faunal studies as the main line of investigation of the laboratory. They enriched the collections with material on the parasites of marine and freshwater fish, mainly from the Aral, Caspian, and Far East seas and from the Karelian lakes, the European part of the USSR, and Siberia. In the 1950s and 1960s, B.E. Bykhovsky and L.F. Nagibina collected material from the Pacific Ocean and Yellow and South China seas.

A hapantotype is a preparation (slide) or a series of preparations containing the type specimens (direct relatives of each other) of the same protozoan species or a series of preparations of different developmental stages of the same species.

The bird trematode collection was collected in the same regions and some other areas and was examined by I.E. Bykhovskaya-Pavlovskaya. The parasites of reptiles, amphibians, and some mammals were examined by M.N. Dubinina. They were used for studies published in a number of monographs and for the keys to these groups. Subsequently, the collections were enlarged by A.V. Gusev during the Soviet Antarctic Expedition, in Sri Lanka, and at the Tisza River;

E.V. Zhukov collected material in the Kamchatka Peninsula and in the Bay of Bengal. When the Academician B.E. Bykhovskii (the leader of the studies on the helminthic fauna in the ZIN) passed away, the investigation of fish parasite populations was headed by O.N. Bauer. He prepared for publication Opredelitel' parazitov presnovodnykh ryb (Key to the Parasites of Freshwater Fish) and headed the Group for the Study of Parasitic Worms established in 1977. This group included young researchers collecting and examining material on the Monogenea (P.I. Gerasev and T.A. Timofeeva), bird cestodes (A.K. Galkin and E.E. Kornakova), bat trematodes (I.M. Podvyaznaya), plant nematodes (A.Yu. Ryss), and fish parasites (O.N. Pugachev). It is noteworthy that plant nematodes were first discovered in permafrost, and Ryss was first to propose a technique to extract them from samples. Over the last ten years, the researchers of the laboratory have collected material in Primorskii krai; Yakutia; the polar region of the Ural Mountains; the Voronezh, Tver, Leningrad, Pskov, and Magadan oblasts; the basins of the Amur, Volga, Lena, and Selenga; the Black Sea; Mongolia; etc.

Based on taxonomic, phylogenetic, faunistic, and zoogeographic studies, the researchers of the laboratory analyze the patterns of macroevolutionary development in parasitic systems, taking into account the evolution of hosts and changes in biological diversity and in environmental conditions.

The collection of the Laboratory of Parasitic Worms consists of several tens of thousands of accounting units.

To date, the collections of the ZIN consist of approximately 28500000 accounting units, which are recorded in the arrival registers and catalogues. In addition, extensive material remains to be sorted and organized. It is evident that, after sorting and registration, the collection will double in size, i.e., the number of accounting units will be about 60000000.

In addition to the above-mentioned laboratories, the ZIN includes a number of divisions lacking their own fund collections; they investigate living animals, but, at the same time, contribute to the enlargement of collections assigned to the other laboratories.

The Laboratory of Experimental Entomology and Theoretical Principles of the Biomethodology studies the dependence of animals on environmental factors, the role they play in living communities, variation, and evolutionary mechanisms. The main objectives are as follows: (1) studies of the mechanisms of seasonal development and elucidation of the physiological mechanisms of the photoperiodic and temperature responses controlling seasonal development; (2) examination of interrelations between hosts and parasites (each aspect is studied under both experimental and natural conditions); and (3) studies on food specialization in insects, in particular, feeding behavior and its role in evolution and the control of population size.

The results of basic research of the laboratory are aimed at solving fundamental scientific and practical problems involving biological pest control and weed extirpation methods.

The Laboratory of the Biosystematic Foundations for the Introduction of Useful Organisms was organized in 1990 to enhance studies on biological pest control and weed extirpation methods. The main objective is the development of theoretical bases for the introduction of phytophagous species and phytopathogens for biological control over plants of foreign origin that have become weeds. In particular, the laboratory examines the biotas of various regions with the aim of detecting perspective natural opposers of weeds in order to import them into Russia and export them to other countries; develops computer databanks on natural opposers of adventive weeds; investigates species to be introduced or exported within the framework of international exchange; studies insects as potential carriers of weed pathogens; and develops strategies for the introduction of phytophagous species and pathogens for weed control.

Many studies on the interactions between ticks and transmitted human and animal pathogens as a conjoint, interdependent system are developed in this laboratory.

The Biological Station of the ZIN on the Kurshskaya Spit of the Baltic Sea (Kaliningrad oblast) is located on the bird migration path, at the site of the former German Rossiten Station. This station studies bird migration by banding birds. Systematic banding was begun here in 1957; by 1995, 1.7 million birds of 181 species had been marked and information on more than 40000 returns had been obtained. The systematic capture of migrating birds within a standard period of time and using standard methods provides a unique opportunity to monitor the population size of many species. Certain other urgent ornithological problems predominantly related to population ecology and ecological aspects of bird behavior are also addressed here.

The Skarlato Biological Station of the ZIN on the White Sea was founded on Cape Kartesh in the Kandalaksha Gulf in 1957. Various hydrobiological and ichthyological studies are developed here. Monitoring studies are characteristic of work performed at the biological station; thus, long-term monitoring of the state of pelagic ecosystems has provided unique data. In addition to planktonologic and hydrologic monitoring, similar work is performed by the researchers of the Department of Benthos. Mussel colonies were investigated for many years throughout almost the entire area of the sea: the general stock of these molluscs in the White Sea was determined and the most common types of colonies were distinguished; they were systematically examined with reference to size and age composition and dynamics of the population size and biomass of molluscs and other ecosystem components. Biotechnology for mussel mariculture under the conditions of the White Sea has been developed here. Investigation of adaptation to the main environmental factors, such as salinity, temperature, etc., is the other focus of study at the station. Using various organisms (predominantly, molluscs), mechanisms of adaptation have been studied at the molecular, cellular, organismal, population, and species level of organization; the concept of essential differences between the systems of adaptation to extreme and moderate changes of salinity has been developed; the mechanism of this adaptation has been studied in detail; and the role of these systems in the evolution of the faunas of brackish waters and ponds characterized by unstable hydroregimes has been analyzed.

Fig. 1. The front of the building of the Zoological Institute. Russian Academy of Sciences

Fig. 2. The Berezovskn mammoth in the exposition of the Zoological Museum, Russian Academy of Sciences

Fig. 3. The biogroup entitled A Colony of Emperor Penguins in the Zoological Museum,

Fig. 4. The biogroup entitled The Polar Bears in the Zoological Museum.

Fig. 5. The biogroup entitled The Amur Tigers in the Zoological Museum.


The other line of investigation developed by the station is the study of the population structure of herring in the White Sea. Based on a number of characteristics and karyological and parasitological data, substantial differences between specific shoals were revealed, providing evidence that they are isolated. The work of ichthyologists is also associated with studies on the means of increasing the efficiency of herring reproduction in the White Sea.

The results of examination of the collections stored in the ZIN have been published in a great number of papers, in particular, in the serials produced by the ZIN. Early in the 20th century, Russian zoologists concluded that information on Russian fauna should be systematized by the publication offaunal data in a special joint series. In 1911, the Zoological Museum published the first volume of Fauny Rossii i sopredel'nykh stran preimushchestvenno po kollektsiyam Zoologicheskogo muzeya (The Fauna of Russia and Adjacent Countries Based Predominantly on the Collections of the Zoological Museum). Over a period of 22 years, 24 volumes of this series were published; they were written by outstanding Russian zoologists. Subsequently, this serial was renamed Faunu SSSR... (The Fauna of the USSR ...); and in 1935, a new series of The Fauna of the USSR was founded. In 1997, volume 145 of this series was published under the revived name The Fauna of Russia and Adjacent Countries.

Each volume of The Fauna... is devoted to a particular animal group, an order, family, or even several genera. Being arranged according to a uniform plan, these handbooks give comprehensive characteristics of a group, including keys, a detailed description of each species, and information on relationships and evolution, life mode, geographic distribution, and practical significance. The authors of these reviews are unique experts on the given group, and each monograph is based on a long-term and thorough investigation of old and newly obtained (most frequently by the author) collections.

The volumes of Opredeliteli po faune SSSR (Keys to the Fauna of the USSR), currently called Opredeliteli po faune Rossii i sopredel'nykh stran (Keys to the Fauna of Russia and Adjacent Countries), are arranged differently. Since 1927, 167 volumes have been published. They provide detailed keys, information on an enormous diversity of organisms, and identify the latter with certainty; this is extremely important in practice. The Keys... are less detailed and frequently devoted to animal groups of a higher taxonomic rank than The Fauna...; this enables consideration of a substantially wider range of species.

The serials are widely favored as authoritative sources of information among both zoologists and biologists of all specialities dealing with animals. They are directly related to one of the basic present-day problems, the conservation of biological diversity and the natural environment. These handbooks are frequently translated into foreign languages and issued abroad as soon as they come out in Russian.

A new concept of constructing computer zoological manuals akin to The Fauna of Russia has recently been developed in the ZIN. It is implemented as a software package for preparation of biological publications on CD ROM.

The other serial handbooks published by the ZIN, such as Trudy Zoologicheskogo instituta (Proc. Zool. Inst., 274 vols.) and Issledovanlyafauny morei (Exploration of Marine Fauna, 49/57 vols.), are also based on examination of the collections.

The ZIN Library (a department of the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences at the ZIN) is the largest zoological library in Russia; it is of paramount importance in the studies of the researchers of the ZIN and a number of other zoologists. The fundamental fund of the library contains approximately 530000 accounting units, not including a tremendous number of reprints, dissertation abstracts, and brochures. More than one thousand readers visit this library annually. The vast catalogues contain information on almost the entire zoological literature of the world. It can be said without exaggeration that work in the ZIN library appreciably influences the success of many zoological studies developed in Russia.

It is quite logical that the keen interest of foreign visitors in the Zoological Museum gave rise to the idea of mobile exhibitions, as the collection treasures housed in the museum were well known to foreign scientists and museum researchers. The first timid attempt occurred in 1973 and 1974, when a mammoth skeleton from the Taimyr Peninsula was exhibited within the framework of the Exhibition on Soviet Siberia. It was the hit of the season; being lovers of nature and antiquities, the Japanese came specifically to see it. Once a baby mammoth was found in the Magadan oblast and conserved, a special container was produced for its transportation, so that it became possible to exhibit this specimen as well. As a separate exhibit, the baby mammoth Dima visited London and Rome; subsequently, a large exhibition entitled The World of the Mammoth, based on the materials of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was organized in Japan. This was a mobile exhibition displayed in various cities for more than a year (1981-1982). It was very successful and was visited by several million people. In 1983-1984, an ornithological exhibition entitled The World of Birds was organized in Japan. Later, a skeleton of the Southern elephant (Archidiskodon meridionalis) was exhibited in Osaka as an isolated exhibit. A series of subsequent exhibitions were devoted to the same theme, the world of the mammoth, as experience showed that this was particularly interesting to the people. These exhibitions occurred in Finland (1985), southern Sweden (1991), the USA (1992), and Sweden and Germany (1994). Lastly, a skeleton of Steller's sea cow was exhibited in Halle, an ancient university city (Germany), in 1995-1996. These exhibitions were attractive not only for the visitors, as the earnings were used by the ZIN to purchase valuable equipment, and the researchers accompanying the exhibits were able to familiarize themselves with foreign scientific institutions and examine the collections housed at these institutions.


We are deeply grateful to many researchers of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences for providing material used in this paper.


Alimov A.R, Starobogatov Ya.L, Kerzhner I.M., Lobanov A.L., and Stepanjants S.D., Problems in Studies on the Diversity of the Animal World in Russia, Zh. Obshch. Biol., 1996, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 5-13.

Global Biodiversity: Status of the Earth's Living Resources, Groombridge, B., Ed., London: Chapman and Hall, 1992.

Naumov D.V., Zoologicheskii muzei AN SSSR. Kratkaya istoriya i opisanie ekspozitsii (The Zoological Museum of the USSR Academy of Sciences: A Brief History and Description of Expositions), Leningrad: Nauka, 1980.

Zoologicheskii institut AN SSSR: 150 let (The Zoological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences: 150 Years, Yur'ev K.B. and Stepanjants S.D. Eds., Leningrad: Nauka, 1982.


Published in Zoological Journal, Vol. 78, N9 (September 1999) (In Russian)

(adapted for INTERNET by B.Anokhin)


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