The rise of professionalism 1914–1950
The VNIGRI (All Russia Petroleum Research Exploration Institute) microfauna laboratory, founded in St Petersburg (then Leningrad) in 1930, was the first micropalaeontological institution established in the USSR. Utilizing the newly established microfaunal methodology for subsurface correlation pioneered by Cushman in the USA, the laboratory managers A. V. Fursenko and N. N. Subbotina made outstanding contributions to the development of the laboratory as the leading Russian micropalaeontological centre devoted to petroleum geology. This managerial team, supported by a team of specialists were instrumental in the development of soviet micropalaeontology and its application to exploration. Despite the outbreak of World War II the Petroleum Institute continued to work but inevitably some collections were lost. Following the war Soviet scientists were particularly fruitful during the period 1945 to 1972, as typified by the book series Microfauna of the USSR, initiated by Fursenko, and followed by the series Fossil Foraminifera of the USSR (the ‘Deep Blue Books’) dedicated to the different families of foraminifera. Special mention is given to Subbotina, who throughout the history of the laboratory, as leader created a remarkably prolific research team and facilitated the dissemination of knowledge between the different geological institutes. The zenith of her career was the publication in 1953 of her work on Cenozoic planktonic foraminifera which was subsequently translated into English and was widely utilized outside of the USSR. Monographs and atlases published between the 1960s and 1990s yielded outstanding results in practice and were used in establishing the first biostratigraphic schemes for the oil- and gas-producing areas of the Russian platform. It is estimated that the VNIGRI laboratory micropalaeontologists published over one thousand articles and during the most prolific period the staff numbered more than 50 scientists and technicians.
Figures & Tables
This TMS Special Publication comprises a collection of 23 papers with an international authorship reflecting on landmarks in the history and development of Foraminiferal micropalaeontology. The volume is prefaced by an introductory overview that provides a brief and selected historical setting, as well as the intended aims of the book. Selected developments in Foraminiferal studies from a global perspective are presented from the time of Alcide d’Orbignyand the founding of the Paris MNHN collections in the mid-nineteenth century to the use of foraminifera in industry, other museum collections, palaeoceanography and environmental studies, regional studies from the Southern Hemisphere and the riseand fall of significant research schools. The book concludes with a chapter on the modelling of foraminifera. Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development will be of particular interest to micropalaeontologists, other Earth scientists, historians of science, museum curators and the general reader with an interest in science.