Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketche

Berg, Lev Semenovich (Russia 1876-1950)
ichthyology, geography, natural history

Berg may be ranked among the greatest Russian geographers of the twentieth century. His some seven hundred publications, including several dozen books, explored subjects ranging from biogeography, evolutionary theory and taxonomy, to limnology, climatology, soils and the history of geography--and to all these studies he must be counted an important contributor. Berg first carved out a name for himself through his ichthyological studies in Central Asia; this led to an increasing interest in soils, geomorphology and climatology. In 1922 he authored a controversial work entitled Nomogenesis which attempted to downplay the role of natural selection in evolution, denied monophyletic origins, and rather strongly invoked teleological forms of explanation. Over the second half of his life he was in constant demand, holding several important professional/administrative positions simultaneously at any given time. Somehow Berg also found the time to take an interest in the history of geography over the last third of his career, and on this subject too he managed to turn out several books and a host of significant shorter writings. Berg's writings on regional geography are probably his most important overall--and especially those leading to his system of natural regions classification (as described in the most influential of his writings that was translated into English, Natural Regions of the U. S. S. R.).

Life Chronology

--born in Bendery, Bessarabia, Russia, on 14 February 1876.
--1898: takes first-degree diploma in zoology, Moscow University
--1899-1903: inspector of fisheries in the Aral Sea region
--1902-1903: studies oceanography in Bergen, Norway
--1904-1913: zoologist and director of ichthyology section, Zoological Museum of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences
--1908: publishes his The Aral Sea
--1909: Ph.D. in geography
--1913-1918: professor of ichthyology, Moscow Agricultural Institute
--1915: awarded Konstantinovsky Medal of the Russian Geographical Society
--1917-1950: professor of physical geography, Petrograd University, Leningrad
--1918-1930: head of the lake department of the State Hydrology Institute
--1922: publishes his Nomogenesis
--1922: publishes his Climate and Life
--1922-1934: head of applied ichthyology section, State Institute of Experimental Agronomy
--1927: publishes his Fundamentals of Climatology
--1928-1946: corresponding member, USSR Academy of Sciences
--1930-1934: associate, Geomorphological Institute, USSR
--1934: made Honored Scientist of the RSFS.
--1934-1950: head of the fossil fish section, Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences
--1940-1950: president, All-Union Geographical Society of the USSR
--1946: elected academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences
--1947-1952: publishes his Geographical Zones of the U. S. S. R.
--1948-1949: publishes his Freshwater Fish of the U. S. S. R. and Contiguous Countries
--1950: publishes his Natural Regions of the U. S. S. R. in English
--dies at Leningrad, RSSR, on 24 December 1950.
--1951: poshumously receives the Stalin Prize

For Additional Information, See:

--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 1 (1970).
--Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Vol. 3 (1973).
--Who Was Who in the USSR (1972).
--Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 97(1) (2007): 111-126.
--Geographical Review, Vol. 41(4) (1951): 673-675.
--Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies, Vol. 5 (1981): 1-7.

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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