Dedicated to our Teacher Boris Mikhailovich Mirkin

V. B. Martynenko, E. Z. Baisheva, A. I. Solomeshch, V. G. Onipchenko, Ya. T. Suyundukov, R. M. Khaziakhmetov, L. M. Abramova, A. A. Muldashev, N. I. Fedorov, S. M. Yamalov, P. S. Shirokikh, Sh. R. Abdullin, A. Kh. Galeeva, I. G. Bikbaev



Boris Mikhailovich Mirkin, the famous Russian scientist, passed away on August 9, 2017. He has founded the Ufa Geobotanical school, which is one of the leading in vegetation classification in Russia. He was the supervisor of 20 Dr. Sci. and more than 60 PhD theses, as well as a consultant of numerous specialists who visited Ufa aiming to prepare their theses. His scientific heritage was formed not only thanks to an outstanding gift, but also to the tremendous efforts and enormous capacity for work.

Boris Mikhailovich was born on July 16, 1937 in Ufa. In 1954 he entered Kazan State University, where he already in the first courses participated in the expeditions and scientific research. Being a student, he published his first scientific paper on the microrelief of sphagnum bogs.

For a year after graduating fr om the university, he worked as a geobotanist in the Soil Laboratory of the Bashkir Research Institute of Agriculture and as a laboratory assistant at the Botany Department of the Bashkir State University (BSU). Then he moved to the postgraduate study at the Leningrad State University where in 1963 he was qualified as PhD (Candidate Degree) in Botany. In 1972, he defended the Dr. Sci. thesis in the University of Tartu.

Since 1963 to the recent time, Boris Mikhailovich worked at the BSU, wh ere he starting as assistant gradually became a professor in the Department of Botany, and subsequently Department of Ecology. He was the favorite teacher for many students! Possessing a powerful voice and a healthy sense of humor, as well as the ability to interest students and explain complex scientific problems in a simple language, Boris Mikhailovich brilliantly gave lectures!

Since 1996, he was a chairman of the Doctoral Dissertation Council at BSU in the fields of «Botany» and «Physiology and biochemistry of plants». A large number of candidates and doctors of science from all parts of our country, who defended their theses in that Council, noted the strict but friendly atmosphere that Boris Mikhailovich was able to create.

In 1963, he established the Laboratory of Geobotany at the BSU. Being sufficiently strict with staff, most demanding and even ruthless he was to himself. As a true leader, Boris Mikhailovich had numerous merits: he easily generated ideas and set clear tasks for colleagues, was very specific and correct on consultations, edited numerous papers and monographs, and had incredible work capacity. Finally, his sense of humor, profound decency and kindness helped him to create and maintain an atmosphere of favorable, creative and friendly climate among laboratory staff.

Despite the huge volume of teaching, the main matter of his life was science. In 1970, he established and headed the Laboratory of geobotany (now the Laboratory of geobotany and plant resources) at the Institute of Biology of the Ufa Science Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He never separated those working at the Laboratories in BSU and Institute of Biology. His students and colleagues were always a single team, just with a different place of work.

Boris Mikhailovich was one of the Russian (in the recent past — Soviet) scientists who in 1960–1990 actively participated in the process of overcoming the isolation of Soviet geobotany and its integration into the world science. He and his followers actually have made a revolution in Russian geobotany. In the 1980s, Boris Mikhailovich exerted a lot of efforts to introduce and widely spread the Brown-Blanke approach within the USSR. A great amount of phytocenologists from different parts of our country were trained in Ufa and became able to treat theirs relevйs and prepared manuscripts according to this approach.

The contribution by Boris Mikhailovich into the development of the vegetation classification theory was highly appreciated by R. McIntosh, the leader of continuum concepts, who called him «meta-ecologist» and «ecology philosopher».

Boris Mikhailovich made a great input not only in the theory of vegetation science and syntaxonomy, but also in the development of quantitative methods in geobotany, the progress of a phytocenose «poly-model concept», the theory and practice of agroecology, biodiversity conservation, as well as in ecological education in Russia.

Boris Mikhailovich had exceptionally high scientific productivity. His activity was always an example of the successful organization of scientific process, treating and publication of the research results. He is the author of more than 60 monographs and textbooks, as well as numerous scientific papers. The list of his published works exceeds 1000 titles.

Everybody, who knew Boris Mikhailovich, will remember him as a decent person with strong sense of justice and inner freedom, who always had and defended his own point of view.

Section: Obituaries

How to cite

Martynenko V. B., Baisheva E. Z., Solomeshch A. I., Onipchenko V. G., Suyundukov Ya. T., Khaziakhmetov R. M., Abramova L. M., Muldashev A. A., Fedorov N. I., Yamalov S. M., Shirokikh P. S., Abdullin Sh. R., Galeeva A. Kh., Bikbaev I. G. 2017. Dedicated to our Teacher Boris Mikhailovich Mirkin // Vegetation of Russia. N 31. P. 154–161.

Received October 4 2017