Research Collections of the Zoological Institute RAS — Sea Urchins (Echinoidea)

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For the first time Feodor Fyodorovich Brandt (Johann Friedrich von Brandt) (1802–1879) — the founder and first director of the Zoological museum has processed materials on echinoderms collected by A.K. Mertens, during global cruise. From 1895 up to 1897 the echinoderm collection alongside with sponges, cnidaria, worms, crustacea, etc. was registered behind the Department of the Others invertebrates. In 1897 echinoderms have attributed to Mollusc-zoological, III Department.

Alexander Mikhajlovich Djakonov (1886–1956) in 1914 has created and headed the Echinoderm Department — V Department of Invertebrate animals and remained its chief up to the end of a life. Zoja Ivanovna Baranova (1922–2010) from 1948 up to 1983 worked in the Zoological institute and headed the Echinoderm Department in 1960–1983. Evgeniy Nikolaevich Gruzov (1933–2010) was a zoologist and aquatic biologist, one of the pioneers of underwater researches of a sea bottom fauna and biocenoses of Antarctica by means of scuba-diving technics. From 1960 he worked in the Echinoderm Department and in 1984–1998 managed it. Since 1998 the Echinoderm Department is headed by Alexey Vladimirovich Smirnov. Except for him in the Echinoderm Department senior scientific worker Igor Sergeevich Smirnov, senior curator Zoja Vladimirovna Kuntsevich, senior laboratory assistant Tatyana Nikolaevna Konina and laboratory assistant Tatyana Ivanovna Golikova work.

The echinoderm collection of the Department totals more than 24000 units of storage and is divided into systematic and non-identified. The systematic part of the collection is stored in taxonomycal order (according to family, genus and species), while non-identified part — according to expeditions. All materials are divided into alcoholic and dry. As a rule, alcoholic collections are stored in small trays in cabinets, while dry — above them in entresols.

In the Echinoderms Department along with the catalogue of type specimens two more catalogues are managed: inventory for numbering all lots and systematic, where lots with the same species are numbered. During the reidentification of the material numbers in systematic catalogue are changed, while inventory numbers remain permanent.

Several specimens where obtained before 1899. The main collection originates from the materials of the famous first Russian research vessel «Andrey Pervozvannyi» (1899). Since that time many regions of the World Ocean were sampled and lot of materials were collected by Zoological Institute researchers.

A total of 309 species and subspecies of Ophiuridae (brittle stars) are available in the Marine Research Laboratory of the Zoological Institute RAS collection mainly from cold and temperate waters of the World Ocean (polar and middle latitude regions).

Systematic collection of brittle stars consists of 9591 lots (Lot in this case — a part of hydrobiological sample with specimens of a certain ophiuroid species. One lot may contain several hundreds of specimens.) whereas non identified part — of more than 500 lots.

The collection of starfishes is presented by 438 species and subspecies, basically from the cold and temperate waters of the World Ocean. The systematic collection totals 7731 lots, and non-identified — more than 700.

Great volume of data did not allow analyzing to the full the extracted and identified material and from 1988 is created information system of marine invertebrates. These data have not only scientific and historical aspects. Accumulation of monitoring collections over a broad period of time made it possible to track changes in marine ecosystems under climatic, hydrologic and anthropogenic influence.


Collection Curator

Dr. Igor Smirnov, Senior Researcher of the Laboratory of the Marine Research

Tel.: +7 (812) 328-13-11, ext. 251
Echinodermata and Tunicata Department, Laboratory of the Marine Research, Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences
199034, Russia, Saint Petersburg, Universitetskaya nab., 1


Photos of specimens and related materials made by P.V. Kijashko, T.N. Konina, I.S. Smirnov.