Lev Aleksandrovich Zenkevich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zenkevich, Lev Aleksandrovich


Born June 4 (16), 1889, in Tsarev (now Leninsk, Volgograd Oblast); died June 20, 1970, in Moscow. Soviet oceanographer, biologist, specialist in the zoology of invertebrate animals, biogeography, and hydrobiology. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1968; corresponding member, 1953).

Zenkevich graduated from the department of law of Moscow University in 1912 and from the natural science division of the physics-mathematics department there in 1916. In 1925 he became a privatdocent (assistant professor) in the sub-department of the zoology of invertebrates at Moscow State University, and in 1930 he became a professor and head of the subdepartment. Beginning in 1947 he worked simultaneously at the Institute of Oceanography at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He headed expeditions on the vessels Persei (193.0’s), Vitiaz (1949, 1950, 1953, 1966), and Akademik Kurchatov (1968). He became president of the All-Union Hydrobiological Society in 1947. His main works dealt with the morphology and comparative anatomy of in-vertebrates and with zoogeography. Beginning in 1921 he devoted most of his attention to studying marine fauna, and after 1949 he concentrated on deep-water ocean fauna, the biological structure of the ocean, and marine biocenology. Especially important were his investigations of the evolution of the motor apparatus in animals, the distribution and quantitative recording of sea-floor fauna and the fauna of the Arctic Ocean, and the acclimatization of the clam worm and other animals that serve as food for fish in the Caspian Sea.

Zenkevich created the theory of the biological structure of the ocean and the evolution of marine fauna and gave a quantitative estimate of the benthos and the relationships between the geological and biological history of the ocean. He worked out many questions of the biogeography of the USSR seas. He was a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the International Biological Association in India, and the Danish Natural Science Society and an honorary member of the Marine Biological Association of Great Britain. He received the State Prize of the USSR in 1951 and the Lenin Prize in 1965. He was awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and medals.


Geografiia ihivotnykh. Moscow, 1946. (Coauthor.)
Fauna i biologicheskaia produktivnost’ moria, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1947–51.
Moria SSSR: Ikh fauna i flora, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1956.
Biologiia morel SSSR. Moscow, 1963.


Lev Aleksandrovich Zenkevich, moscow, 1961.(Materialy k biobibliografii uchenykh SSSR: Seriia geograficheskikh nauk, fasc. 3.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.