Knipovich, Nikolai Mikhailovich

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Knipovich, Nikolai Mikhailovich

(b. Suomenlinna, Finland, 25 March 1862; d. Leningrad, U.S.S.R., 23 February 1939)

marine biology, marine hydrology.

In 1886 Knipovich graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of St.Petersburg University. A year earlier he was a member of O. A. Grimm’s expedition to the Lower Volga to evaluate the long-range prospects for herring fishery in the Volga—Caspian basin. This experience aroused his interest in hydrology and the study of marine life, thereby defining the subjects of his subsequent scientific activity.

Beginning in 1887 Knipovich studied the biology of the White Sea. Soon his work expanded to the Barents Sea, where he organized and headed the Murmansk expedition for research on natural resources (1898-1901). This expedition, which was carried out on the Andrey Pervozvanny, the first vessel especially constructed for such work, brought back the first substantial information on the nature and rich natural resources of the northern seas of European Russia. Knipovich organized three Caspian expeditions for research on natural resources (1904, 1912-1913, and 1914-1915). The expeditions made it possible to present in great detail the peculiar hydrological features of the Caspian Sea and the distribution and annual cycle of marine life. In 1921 Knipovich summarized and published the results of the Caspian expeditions. They provided the basis for the subsequent regulation of commerce and the protection of the resource of the Caspian Sea. From 1905 to 1911 Knipovich organized and led research expeditions on the natural resources of the Baltic Sea. After processing the results of the third Caspian expedition, he led similar expeditions to the Sea of Azov and the eastern part of the Black Sea (1922-1927). In 1931-1932 he headed a research expedition to study the natural resources of teh entire Caspian Sea.

Before Knipovich, such research expeditions ot the Russian seas merely described the objects of possible commercial exploitation, without considering the water’s influence on them. Lnipovich was a pioneer in the study of marine fishes and their close connection with hydrological conditions. “Productivity of reservoirs,” he wrote in Gidrologia morey i solonovatykh vod (1938). “is always restricted by certain limits which ae determined by the aggregate of the physical and chemical conditions.…” Knipovich’s half-century of work is summed up in the same work: “As there is no scienitific hydrobiology without calculation of hydrological conditions, there is no scienitific hydrology without calculation of biological factors.”


I. Original Works. Knipovich wrote 164 works. The principal publications are Osnovy gidrologii Evropeyskogo Ledovitogo okeana (“Principles of Hydrology in the European Arctic Ocean”; St. Petersburg, 1906); Gidrologicheskie issledovania v Kaspyskom more (“Hydrological Explorations in the Caspian Sea”; Petrograd, 1914-1915); Trudy Kaspyskoy ekspeditsii 1914-1915 (“Transactions of the Caspian Expedition...”;Petrograd, 1921); “Opredelitel ryb Chernogo: Azovskogo morey” (“Checklist of Fishes of the Black and Azov Seas”; Moscow, 1923); “Opredelitel ryp morey Barentseva, Belogo i Karskogo” (“Checklist of Fishes of the Barents, White, and Kara Seas”), in Trudy Instituta po izucheniyu Severa, no.27 (1926);“Gidrologicdheskie issledovania v Azovskom more” (“Hydrological Explorations in the Azov Sea”), in Trudy Azovo-chernomorskoi nauchno-promyslovoi ekspeditsii, no. 5 (1932); “gidrologicheskie issledovania v Chernom more” (“Hydrological Explorations in the Black Sea”), ibid., no. 10 (1933); and Gidrologia morey i solonovatykh vod (v primenenii k promyslovomu delu) (“Hydrology of the Seas and of Saline Water s [Applied to Production]”; Moscow-Leningrad, 1938).

II. Secondary Literature. On Knipovich or his work, see “Polveka nauchnoy i obshchestvennoy deyatelnosti N. M. Knipovicha” (“Half a Century of the Scientific andpublic Activity of N. M. Knipovich”), in Sbornik posvyashchenny nauchnoy deyatelnosti N. M. Knipovicha (“Collection Dedicated to the Scientific Activity of N. M. Knipovich”; Moscow-Leningrad, 1939), an anthology; V. K. Soldatov, “Nikolai Mikhailovich,” in Sbornik v chest professora N. M. Knipovicha (“Collectin of Articles in Honor of Professor N. M. Knipovich”; Moscow, 1927), pp. 1-14; and P. Sushkin and A. Kapinsky, “Zapiska ob uchenykh trudkh N. M. Knipovicha” (“A Note on the Scholarly Works of N. M. Knipovich”), in Izcestiya Akakemii nauk SSSR, ser. 5, no. 18 (1927), 1485-1488.

A. F. Plakhotnik