LaboratoriesLaboratory for Historical Ecology \  Goals and Tasks


Headed by A.B. Savinetsky, Dr. Biol. Sci.

tel. (495)-633-14-17


The head of Laboratory
A.B. Savinetsky

The sculls of mammals out of comparative osteological collection

Doctor of Biological Sciences
L.G. Dinesman

Comparative collection of the bones of modern birds

The main directions of basic research of the Department of Biological Sciences of the RAS (being developed in the Lab):

  • Developmental biology and evolution of living systems.
  • Ecology of organisms and communities.
  • Biological diversity.

In the field of historical ecology the main attention was paid to description of dynamics of ecosystems of the North hemisphere in Holocene. For this purpose during the last years the paleo-dynamics of littoral recent ecosystems of the Bering Sea, including the coast of Chukotka, Kamchatka, the Commander and Aleutian islands, the forest ecosystems of non-chernozem zone of European part of Russia (Moscow, Tver and Vologda regions) and also of the Northern Caucasus, arid ecosystems of Mongolia, the south of European part of Russia and the desert Negev was intensively investigated. It was shown that the dynamics of the various ecosystems differed significantly and was strongly dependent on regional features. For example, in the littoral zone of the Bering Sea the dynamics of ecosystems was determined by the changing of abiotic factors - summer temperatures, precipitation amounts in warm and cold seasons, sea temperature, prevailing winds, sea water level, relief of the sea floor, dynamics of coastal zone etc. In the arid regions of Mongolia the determining factors in ecosystem dynamics were the permafrost degradation, dealluvial and aeolian processes, climatic factors (temperature and precipitation amount) and during the last thousand years the grazing pressure. In the Negev desert the determining factors were the amount and type of atmospheric precipitation, as well as the grazing pressure. In case of weakening of anthropogenic pressure, restoration of vegetation cover is possible even under increased aridity of the area. In the forest zone of the Northern Caucasus and European part of Russia a slightly different pattern was observed. The endogenous processes were prevailed in the areas. The impact of climate factors on these processes was very small. The steppe ecosystems are mainly influenced also by endogenous processes. However, the anthropogenic factors and, first of all, cattle breeding and agriculture played in the area a very important role also. At present their influence is significantly overlapped by also the climatic factors. Singularity of the data obtained is provided mainly by applied method, which includes the complex studies of sediments of different genesis, such as turfs, long-term shelters of mammals and birds, zoogenic sediments in the caverns and niches, alluviual, marine and lacustrine bottom sediments, archeological memorials, buried soils and many other objects. These objects were investigated by different methods: radiocarbon, paleozoological (including determination of the fossils of vertebrate and invertebrate animals), zoological, dendroclimatochronological, botanical (implying usually the determination of macroremains of the plants), phytolitic, diatomic, palynological, helminthological, stable isotopes and etc. The studies were provided by improved classical methods and the developed new approaches. For example, it was developed a method for estimation of the dynamics of the number of animal paleopopulations according to archeozoological data, method for determination of the dynamics of climatic parameters from the analysis of stable isotopes of oxygen in phytolites of cereals, method for measurements of radiocarbon activity of very small samples (about 0.2 g, that was 5-10 times smaller than the standard one) in dynamic conditions. These studies were provided using unique radiocarbon measuring equipment (available in our Laboratory), allowing the dating of the different materials.