Deryugin, Konstantin Mikhailovich

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Deryugin, Konstantin Mikhailovich

(b. St. Petersburg, Russia, 10 February, 1878; d. Moscow, U.S.S.R., 27 December 1938)

earth science, oceanography, zoology.

From 1896 to 1900 Deryugin was a student in the natural sciences section of St. Petersburg University. In 1899 he took part in a scientific expedition to the White Sea; and from that time on, marine organisms and their habitat became his main scientific interest. After graduation Deryugin remained at the university, in the department of zoology and comparative anatomy, to do research and to teach. He also visited the United States and western Europe, where he became acquainted with the organization of foreign research in oceanography. In 1909 he defended his master’s thesis and began to lecture in a course entitled “Life of the Sea.”

In 1915 Deryugin defended his dissertation for the doctorate in zoology and comparative anatomy. In 1917 he was made a lecturer at St. Petersburg University and, in 1919, professor. From 1920 he combined teaching with substantial research and administrative responsibilities as deputy director and manager of the oceanic section of the State Hydrological Institute in Leningrad.

Deryugin won fame chiefly as taxonomist of a number of groups of marine organisms (fishes, mollusks, and several others). He also studied the distribution of marine fauna in relation to the environment.

In 1915 Deryugin published his chief work, “Fauna Kolskogo zaliva...” (“The Fauna of Kola Bay”), in which he gave the first detailed analysis of the system of zones and biological communities (biocenoses) of the Barents Sea. His full description of the pattern of fauna and flora shows their regular distribution in relation to environmental conditions. This broad approach led Deryugin to consider the history of the fauna of the Barents Sea, and then the history of the sea itself, the structure of the shores and bottom, its geology and petrography, and its hydrology and hydrochemistry.

In 1921 Deryugin reestablished regular hydrological sampling of the Barents Sea (which had been interrupted by the war) along the Kola meridian (33°30′ east longitude) to 75° north latitude and even farther. It soon became clear that the warm currents of the North Cape stream intersected by these samplings frequently change their positions. This discovery had a profound influence on the development of the fishing industry in the Barents Sea, since it showed a connection between the current of warm Atlantic waters and changes of the marine fauna. In particular, as Deryugin demonstrated, these warm currents were responsible for the appearance in the Barents Sea of warm-water forms not previously observed there and for their rapid diffusion to the shores of Novaya Zemlya.

The work of Deryugin and his students, from 1922 on, laid the foundations of present knowledge of the hydrology and biology of the White Sea, a body of water sharply different from other inland seas. Deryugin showed that this comparatively small sea consists of three parts: the basin of the sea itself, the Gorlo Strait, and its funnel. He explained the difference in biological environment between the White Sea and the neighboring Barents Sea by the intensified tidal mingling of waters from the surface to the bottom in the Gorlo Strait, a phenomenon that presented an insurmountable barrier to the dispersion of organisms.

The Pacific Ocean expedition of 1932–1933, which was organized at Deryugin’s initiative and worked under his immediate direction, thoroughly investigated the Sea of Okhotsk and the parts of the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea, and the Chukchi Sea bordering on the Soviet Union. The hydrological samplings were made from six fishing trawlers that collected at depths as great as 3,500 meters. Some work of the expedition was continued in following years. This research, in the course of which the fauna and flora of the Far Eastern seas of the Soviet Union were first seriously studied, brought to light what Deryugin termed a “new world of organisms.” In some groups up to 50 percent new forms were found.

Deryugin was responsible for and participated in more than fifty scientific expeditions in twelve bodies of water bordering the Soviet Union. He organized and directed important oceanographic institutions: the Murmansk biological station on the shore of Kola Bay, in Yekaterin Harbor (now Polyarny; 1903–1904) and the Pacific Ocean Scientific Trade Station in Vladivostok (now the Pacific Ocean Scientific Research Institute of Fishing Economy and Oceanography; 1925).

Deryugin gave special attention to the methodological side of oceanographic research. He was responsible for the creation and operation of special methodological stations in the Neva Inlet of the Gulf of Finland (1920), on the White Sea (1931), and on Kamchatka (1932). He organized the design and production of oceanographic instruments in the Soviet Union and spent much of his strength and energy on the planning and building of special ocean research ships.

Deryugin was a member of the Society of Natural Scientists in Leningrad and a life member of the Linnaean Society of Lyons.


I. Original Works. The most important of Deryugin’s more than 160 published scientific works are “Fauna Kolskogo zaliva i uslovia yeyo sushchestvovania” (“The Fauna of Kola Bay and Its Environment”), in Zapiski Akademii nauk, fiziko-matematicheskoe otdelenie (“Notes of the Academy of Sciences, Physics and Mathematics Section”), 8th ser., 34 no. 1 (1915); “Fauna Belogo morya i uslovia yeyo sushchestvovania” (“The Fauna of the White Sea and Its Environment”), in Issledovania morey SSSR (“Investigations of the Seas of the USSR”), no. 7–8 (Leningrad, 1928); “Gidrologia i biologia” (“Hydrology and Biology”), in Issledovania morey SSSR (“Investigations of the Seas of the USSR”), no. 11 (Leningrad, 1930), pp. 37–45; “Vlianie prolivov i ikh gidrologicheskogo rezhima na faunu morey i yeyo dalneyshuyu evolyutsiyu” (“The Influence of Straits and Their Hydrological Systems on the Fauna of the Seas and Its Further Evolution”), in Zapiski Gosudarstvennogo gidrologicheskogo instituta (“Notes of the State Hydrological Institute”), 10 (1933), 369–374; “Issledovania morey SSSR v biograficheskom otnoshenii” (“Investigations of the Seas of the USSR in Terms of Biogeography”), in Trudy Pervogo Vsesoyuznogo geograficheskogo sezda (11–18 oktyabrya 1933) (“Works of the First All-Union Geographical Congress...”), pt. 2 (Leningrad, 1934), pp. 36–45; “Uspekhi sovetskoy gidrobiologii v oblasti izuchenia morey” (“The Progress of Soviet Hydrobiology in the Field of Ocean Studies”), in Uspekhi sovremennoi biologii (“Progress of Contemporary Biology”), 5 , no. 1 (1936), 9–23; and “Osnovnye cherty sovremennykh faun morey SSSR i veroyatnye puti ikh evolyutsii” (“The Basic Outlines of Contemporary Fauna of the Seas of the USSR and the Probable Course of Their Evolution”), in Uchenye zapiski Leningradskogo... gosudarstvennogo universiteta (“Scientific Notes of the Leningrad State University”), 3 , no. 17(1937), 237–248.

II. Secondary Literature. Important publications on Deryugin are E. F. Guryanova, “Professor K. M. Deryugin,” in Vestnik Leningradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta (“Leningrad State Herald University”), no. 8 (1949), pp. 81–92; and V. V. Timonov, P. V. Ushakov, and S. Y. Mittelman, “Konstantin Mikhailovich Deryugin kak okeanolog” (“Konstantin Mikhailovich Deryugin as Oceanographer”), in Trudy Gosudarstvennogo okeanograficheskogo instituta (“Works of the State Oceanographic Institute”), no. 1, sec. 13 (1947), pp. 9–18.

A. F. Plakhotnik