Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Dokuchaev, Vasily Vasilievich (Russia 1846-1903)
soils, physical geography


Dokuchaev was originally trained for the priesthood and actually received a diploma from seminary in 1867. But he then turned to natural science, where his progress was rapid. He ultimately became the father of modern genetic soil science studies; beyond being the first to carry out a comprehensive survey and study of Russian soils, he developed a genetic classification of soils based on horizon development, and in turn used this information to effect a definition of geographical zones. The well-known term "chernozem" is due to him. Dokuchaev was also an influential physical geographer and geologist who did much work on the evolution of river plains, swamp environments, and glaciated landscapes. In addition he was an important educator and leader of scientific institutions, including founding the journal Soil Science in 1899.

Life Chronology

--born in Milyukovo, Smolensk, Russia, on 1 March 1846.
--1871: B.S., St. Petersburg University
--1872: made curator of the Geological Laboratory, St. Petersburg University
--1875-1877: writes the manuscript for the Soil Map of European Russia, which wins the gold medal at the 1875 International Geographical Congress in Paris
--1877-1879: expedition to the Ukraine, Moldavia, central Russia, Trans-Volga, the Crimea and the northern slopes of the Caucasus
--1879-1883: privatdozent in geology, St. Petersburg University
--1883: made head of the Department of Mineralogy and Crystallography, St. Petersburg University
--1892-1895: reorganizes the Novo-Alexandriisk Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (now the Dokuchaev Institute)
--1878: M.A., St. Petersburg University; publishes Methods of Formation of the River Valleys of European Russia
--1882-1886: expedition to Nizhni Novgorod
--1883: Ph.D., mineralogy and geology, St. Petersburg University; publishes his Russkii Chernozem (Russian Chernozem)
--1883-1897: professor of geology, St. Petersburg University
--1888-1894: expedition to Poltava
--1891: commissioned by the Ministry of State Lands to lead an expedition to deal with the severe drought
--1892: publishes his Nashi Stepi Prezhde i Teper (Our Steppes, Past and Present)
--1898: expedition to Bessarabia
--1898-1900: expeditions to the Caucasus, the Transcaucasus and the Trans-Caspian
--1899: founds the journal Soil Science
--1900-: hospitalized in St. Petersburg for severe mental depression
--dies at St. Petersburg, Russia, on 8 November 1903.

For Additional Information, See:

--Moscow University Soil Science Bulletin, Vol. 38(1) (1983): 1-6.
--Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies, Vol. 4 (1980).
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 4 (1971).
--Revue d’Histoire des Sciences et de Leurs Applications, Vol. 36(3-4) (1983): 285-306.
--Eurasian Soil Science, Vol. 36(11) (2003): 1236-1244.

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Copyright 2007 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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