Boris Aleksandrovich Keller

Keller, Boris Aleksandrovich


Born Aug. 16 (28), 1874, in St. Petersburg; died Oct. 29, 1945, in Moscow. Soviet botanist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1931) and the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1935). Became a member of the CPSU in 1930.

Keller was expelled from Moscow University for his participation in the student political movement. After graduating from Kazan University in 1902, he taught there from 1902 to 1913. He was a professor at the Voronezh Agricultural Institute from 1913 to 1931 and at the University of Voronezh from 1919 to 1931. From the university he went on to direct the Botanical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1931 to 1936, the Soil Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1935 to 1936, and the Botanical Gardens of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Moscow from 1937 to 1945. He was also the chairman of the Turkmen branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1941 to 1945.

Keller studied the ecology of drought-resistant and salt-tolerant plants and proposed a classification of the Russian steppes based on the geographical distribution of feather grasses and the ecological nature of steppe phytocoenoses. He substantiated the differentiation of steppe and desert vegetation types, introduced the concepts of semidesert and saturation of phytocoenoses, and worked out new methods of geobotanical research (ecological ranks). He was awarded two orders.


V oblasti polupustyni. Saratov, 1907. (In collaboration with N. A. Dimo.) Rasttiel’nyi mir russkikh stepei, polupustyn’ i pustyn’, vols. 1–2. Voronezh, 1923–26.
Osnovy evoliutsii rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Izbr. soch. Moscow, 1951.


Russkie botaniki: Biografo-bibliograficheskii slovar’, vol. 4. Compiled by S. Iu. Lipshits. Pages 127–40. Moscow, 1952.