On January 16, 2008, the outstanding Russian palaeontologist and entomologist Alexandr Georgievich Ponomarenko celebrates his 70th birthday.
A.G. Ponomarenko graduated from the Department of Entomology, Faculty of Biology and Soil Science, Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU), where E.S. Smirnov and A.B. Lange were among his mentors. In his student years he already started the study of longhorn beetles, and in 1959 participated in a palaeoentomological expedition of the Paleontological Institute (PIN), Academy of Sciences of the USSR, to Transbaikalia. After graduating MGU in 1960, A.G. joined the Arthropoda Laboratory, PIN, headed by B.B. Rohdendorf.
At PIN A.G. turned his attention to fossil Coleoptera, taking up the reins from B.B. Rohdendorfin co-authorship they prepared the chapter on beetles in the handbook Fundamentals of Paleontology (1962). A.G.'s first publications were devoted to Mesozoic aquatic beetles, and the very primitive Coleoptera of the suborder Archostemata. His broad and multifaceted scientific interests has already become apparent-he is able to effortlessly bridge the gap from the highly specialized study of the taxonomy of insects that became extinct hundreds of million years ago, to general aspects of evolution and ecology.
After several years A.G. became a leading world expert in fossil beetles, having described hundreds of new species from the Permian and Mesozoic. He and his colleagues spent almost every field season in expeditions to different corners of the Soviet Union, from Taimyr to Central Asia, and from the Caucasus to Primorye, returning to their institute with saddle boxes full of priceless new material. In 1967 he presented his Ph.D. thesis Historical Development of Coleoptera: Archostemata, published as a book in 1969.
From 1969 to 1989 A.G. led the studies of the fossil insects of Mongolia and headed all the palaeoentomological parties of the Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition. In those years more than a hundred sites were discovered and tens of thousands of Mesozoic and Permian insects were collected. Although he had no special training in geology, during these studies he largely filled this gap, and became a real ace in the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments.
A.G., along with his brothers in arms, spent much time and energy creating a new exhibition of the Paleontological Museum in the specially designed building at Profsoyuznaya Street, and was for a while in charge of this museum. He created scientifically correct reconstructions of extinct animals with his own hands, and spared no pains to consult animal artists who transformed these sketches into scenes of prehistoric life.
In the 1970s A.G. twice traveled to Japan with palaeontological exhibitions as their scientific consultant, his encyclopedic erudition and good nature winning him the respect and sympathy of everyone he met there, from translators up to the present emperor of Japan, a reputed biologist. He spent his time off visiting Japanese research institutions, and obtained several valuable showpieces for the Paleontological Museum.
Preparing several chapters in the multiauthored book Historical Development of the Class Insecta (1980), he expanded his interests into some other groups: neuropteroids (treated in a series of subsequent taxonomic publications), fleas and their precursors, and scorpionflies. He studied more taxa of Coleoptera and developed his original concept of the evolution of this order. The multiauthored book Mesozoic Coleoptera (1977) was translated into English. In 1983 A.G. presented his doctoral thesis Historical Development of the Order Coleoptera.
In the late 1970s his studies moved to a new level. Now some of his papers dealt with entire insect faunas and non-marine aquatic ecosystems of the geological past, their evolution (including stratigraphical aspect) and palaeobiogeography. He was one of the leaders of the new research subject of the laboratory, the joint study of Jurassic and Cretaceous insect faunas of several sites and regions in Siberia and Mongolia. He even described horseshoe crabs and goose barnacles (that lived not only in seas in the past).
Having inherited a passion for the sea from his parents, in 1987 A.G. had the opportunity to work in warm seas and see the tropics-in a research ship voyage between the Vietnamese islands he led the entomological team, and tested the theory of island biogeography by practice.
Since 1995 A.G. has worked at the Laboratory of the earliest organisms, PIN, and also in 1998 joined the newly formed inter-institutional Laboratory of bacterial palaeontology of terrestrial and extraterrestrial objects. Being now not restricted to any formal themes, he pays even more attention to theoretical investigations (but also continues to study his favourite fossil beetles): description of major events in biosphere evolution, such as the pellet revolution in Cambrian oceans. He enthusiastically joins the studies of microbiotas from ancient continental waters under the scanning electron microscope, demonstrating that prokaryotes played a much more important role in Mesozoic and Cenozoic eutrophic lake ecosystems than in presentday ones.
A.G. is born campaigner for science, able to infect anyone with his enthusiasm. Especially great are his achievements in the promotion of palaeontologyfor tens of years he gave courses of lectures at the biological faculty, MGU, awakening interest in our science in rising generations. A.G. actively involves experts on modern arthropods from different research institutions, cities, and even countries in describing our fossil material. He is an enduring and attentive supervisor, as confirmed by all the postgraduates (from Russia and abroad) that had the good fortune to prepare their theses under his guidance. A.G. is profoundly interested in the studies of young researchers; he often initiates and actively participates in discussions of various aspects of biology. His universal knowledge of material and literature makes him an indispensable adviser for all colleagues, and he willingly debates newly arising scientific questions.
A.G. Ponomarenko published several books and more than a hundred articles, and presented many talks at all-Russian and international congresses. He is the main author of the electronic catalogue of fossil beetles of the world at the website of Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, where his publications on extinct beetles are also listed.
Even in his hobbies A.G. is on a firm scientific basis; his flower gardening has a phytogeographical bias, and his large collection of wine labels from all over the world is perfectly systematized.
Versatile, gifted, vigorous, friendly, and always cooperative, Alexandr Georgievich is one of those people who form the basis of our Institute and our Science. All of us wish him many new achievements and successes, good health, and happiness.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1969. Historical development of archostematan beetles. Transactions of the Paleontological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences125: 1-240. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1972. On nomenclature of the beetle wing venation (Coleoptera). Entomological Review51 (4): 454-458. [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 1973. On subdividing of the order Coleoptera into suborders. In: Problems of the Insect Palaeontology. Lectures on the 24th Annual Readings in Memory of N.A. Kholodkovsky, 1-2 April, 1971. Leningrad: Nauka, p. 78-89 (in Russian).
Ponomarenko A.G. 1975. Coptoclava (Coleoptera) a peculiar Early Cretaceous aquatic beetle from East Asia. Transactions of the Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition2: 122-139 (in Russian).
Ponomarenko A.G. and Zherikhin V.V. 1980. Superorder Scarabaeidea. Coleopteroids. In: Historical Development of the Class Insecta. Transactions of the Paleontological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences 175: 75-84. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1991. Introduction. Composition and ecological characteristic of Mesozoic Coleoptera. Suborder Adephaga. Suborder Polyphaga. Polyphaga incertae sedis. Infraorder Staphyliniformia. In: Arnoldi L.V., Zherikhin V.V., Nikritin L.M., and Ponomarenko A.G. Mesozoic Coleoptera. New Dehli: Oxonian Press.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1995. The geological history of beetles. In: Pakaluk J. and Slipiński S.A., eds. Biology, Phylogeny and Classification of Coleoptera. Papers Celebrating the 80th Birthday of Roy A. Crowson. Warszawa: Mus. i Inst. Zool. PAN, pp. 155-171.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1997. New beetles of the family Cupedidae from the Mesozoic of Mongolia. Ommatini, Mesocupedini, Priacmini. Paleontological Journal31(4): 389-399. [PDF1, PDF2]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2000. Beetles of the family Cupedidae from the Lower Cretaceous locality of Semen, Transbaykalia. Paleontological Journal34 (Suppl. 3): 317-322. [Abstract] [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2000. New beetles from the Permian of European Russia. Paleontological Journal34 (Suppl. 3): 312-316. [Abstract] [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2002. Superorder Scarabaeidea Laicharting, 1781. Order Coleoptera Linne, 1758. The beetles. In: Rasnitsyn A.P. and Quicke D.L.J., eds. History of insects. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 164-176.
Ponomarenko A.G. 2003. The first beetles (Permosynidae, Coleoptera) from the Upper Tatarian of European Russia. Paleontological Journal37 (2): 170-173. [Abstract] [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G., Coram R.A., and Jarzembowski E.A. 2005. New beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) from the Berriasian Purbeck Limestone Group, Dorset, UK. Cretaceous Research26 (2): 277-281. [Abstract]
Ponomarenko A.G. and Mostovski M.B. 2005. New beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) from the Late Permian of South Africa. African Invertebrates46: 253-260. [Abstract] [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2006. A new beetle species of the genus Taldycupes (Taldycupedidae, Coleoptera) from the Permian of the Tunguska River basin. Paleontological Journal40 (3): 295-296. [Abstract]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2006. On the types of Mesozoic archostematan beetles (Insecta, Coleoptera, Archostemata) in the Natural History Museum, London. Paleontological Journal40 (1): 90-99. [Abstract] [PDF]
Soriano C., Delclós X., and Ponomarenko A.G. 2007. Beetle associations (Insecta: Coleoptera) from the Barremian (Lower Cretaceous) of Spain. Alavesia1: 81-88. [PDF]
Soriano C., Ponomarenko A., and Delclós X. 2007. Coptoclavid beetles (Coleoptera: Adephaga) from the Lower Cretaceous of Spain: A new feeding strategy in beetles. Palaeontology50 (2): 525-536. [Abstract]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2008. New beetles (Coleoptera) from the Triassic of Northern European Russia. Paleontological Journal42 (6): 600-606. [Abstract] [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. and Rasnitsyn A.P. 1974. New Mesozoic and Cenozoic Protomecoptera. Paleontological Journal8: 493-507.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1976. A new insect from the Cretaceous of Transbaikalia, a possible parasite of pterosaurians. Paleontological Journal10: 339-343.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1988. The origin of fleas: the evidence from fossil record. In: The Results and Perspectives of Further Research of Siphonaptera in Palearct from the Aspect of their Significance for Practice. Symposium, Bratislava 6-11.6.1988, pp. 3-7.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1976. Dobsonflies (Megaloptera, Corydalidae) from the Cretaceous of North Asia. Entomological Review55: 425-433. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1980. Superorder Myrmeleontidea. Neuropteroids. In: Historical Development of the Class Insecta. Transactions of the Paleontological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences175: 84-99. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 2000. New alderflies (Megaloptera: Parasialidae) and glosselytrodeans (Glosselytrodea: Glosselytridae) from the Permian of Mongolia. Paleontological Journal34 (Suppl. 3): S309-S311. [Abstract]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2002. Superorder Myrmeleontidea Latreille, 1802. In: Rasnitsyn A.P. and Quicke D.L.J., eds. History of insects. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 176-189.
Ponomarenko A.G. 2003. On some Neuroptera (Insecta) from Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone. Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum (Entomology)12: 87-100. [request PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. and Shcherbakov D.E. 2004. New lacewings (Neuroptera) from the terminal Permian and basal Triassic of Siberia. Paleontological Journal38 (Suppl. 2): S197-S203. [Abstract] [PDF1] [PDF2] [PDF3] [PDF4]
DIVERSITY DYNAMICS AND ECOLOGICAL CRISES
Rasnitsyn A.P. and Ponomarenko A.G. 1967. On methods of rough estimating the diversity of local faunas of geological past. Paleontologicheskiy Zhurnal [Paleontological Journal] 3: 98-105. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. and Dmitriev V.Yu. 1993. Evolution of diversity and stability of ecosystems. In: Problems of Pre-Anthropogenic Evolution of Biosphere. Moscow: Nauka, pp. 54-59. (in Russian) [HTML]
Dmitriev V.Yu., Ponomarenko A.G., and Rasnitsyn A.P. 1996. Dynamics of the taxonomic diversity of nonmarine aquatic biota. Paleontological Journal30 (3): 255-259. [Abstract] [HTML in Russian]
Ponomarenko A.G. and Sukacheva I.D. 1998. Insects. In: Permian-Triassic Boundary in the Continental Series of the East Europe. Moscow: GEOS, pp. 96-106. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. and Sukacheva I.D. 2001. Insects of the end of the Permian through the beginning of the Jurassic. In: Ecosystem transformations and the evolution of the biosphere. Moscow: Paleontological Institute. 4: 97-107. (in Russian) [PDF]
Alekseev A.S., Dmitriev V.Yu., and Ponomarenko A.G. 2001. Evolution of taxonomic diversity. In: Ecosystem transformations and the evolution of the biosphere Moscow: GEOS. 5: 1-126. (in Russian)
Dmitriev V.Yu. and Ponomarenko A.G. 2002. Dynamics of insect taxonomic diversity. In: Rasnitsyn A.P. and Quicke D.L.J., eds. History of insects. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 325-331. [HTML]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2004. Beetles (Insecta, Coleoptera) of the Late Permian and Early Triassic. Paleontological Journal38 (Suppl. 2): S185-S196. [Abstract] [PDF1] [PDF2] [PDF3] [PDF4] [PDF5]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2006. Changes in terrestrial biota before the Permian-Triassic ecological crisis. Paleontological Journal40 (Suppl. 4): 468-474. [Abstract]
Anisyutkin L.N., Grachev V.G., Ponomarenko A.G., Rasnitsyn A.P., and Vršanský P. 2008. Part II. Fossil Insects in the Cretaceous Mangrove Facies of Southern Negev, Israel. In: Krassilov V. and Rasnitsyn A., eds, Plantarthropod interactions in the early angiosperm history. Evidence from the Cretaceous of Israel. Sofia-Moscow & Leiden-Boston: Pensoft Publishers & BRILL, pp. 189-223.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1980. The Jurassic insect locality in the Karatau Range. In: Dolin V.G., Panfilov D.V., Ponomarenko A.G., and Pritykina L.N. Mesozoic Fossil Insects. Kiev: Naukova dumka, pp. 5-16. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. and Kalugina N.S. 1980. The general characteristic of insects at the Manlay locality. Transactions of the Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition13: 68-81. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. and Popov Yu.A. 1980. Palaeobiocoenoses of Early Cretaceous Mongolian lakes. Paleontological Journal14 (3): 1-10.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1985. Fossil insects from the Tithonian Solnhofener Plattenkalke in the Museum of Natural History, Vienna. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien A 87: 135-144.
Ponomarenko A.G. 1986. Insects in the Early Cretaceous ecosystems of West Mongolia. Transactions of the Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition28: 183-201. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1986. On paleobiogeography of Mongolia in the Mesozoic. Transactions of the Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition29: 98-105. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1990. Insects and the Lower Cretaceous stratigraphy of Mongolia. In: Krassilov V.A., ed. Nonmarine Cretaceous of the USSR. Vladivostok: Far Eastern Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences, pp. 103-108. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. and Sukacheva I.D. 2001. Insects of the end of the Permian through the beginning of the Jurassic. In: Ecosystem transformations and the evolution of the biosphere. Moscow: Paleontological Institute. 4: 97-107. (In Russian) [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2004. Fossil insects of Mongolia: results of the study. In: Problems of Central Asian Paleontology (to 35th anniversary of the Joint Russian-Mongolian paleontological expedition). Moscow: Paleontological Institute, pp. 47-48.
Ponomarenko A.G., Sukatsheva I.D., and Vasilenko D.V. 2009. Some characteristics of the Trichoptera distribution in the Mesozoic of Eurasia (Insecta: Trichoptera). Paleontological Journal43 (3): 282-295. [Abstract] [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 1983. Insects in the Mesozoic inland waters of North Asia. Transactions of the Paleontological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences194: 143-151. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1993. Main events in the evolution of biosphere. In: Problems of Pre-Anthropogenic Evolution of Biosphere. Moscow: Nauka, pp. 15-25. (in Russian) [HTML]
Ponomarenko A.G. 1997. The peculiarities of taphonomy of organic remains in continental lacustrine and volcanogenic formations. In: Ochev V.G. and Tverdokhlebova G.I., eds. Taphonomy of Terrestrial Organisms. Saratov: Saratov Univ., pp. 108-116. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1998. Paleontology and equilibria in biogeochemical cycles. In: Ecosystem transformations and the evolution of the biosphere. Moscow: Paleontological Institute. 3: 9-14. (in Russian)
Kuzmina S.A. and Ponomarenko A.G. 2001. Paleoentomological data on the environmental conditions of mammoths. In: Mammoth and its environment: 200 years of investigations. Moscow: GEOS, pp. 279-286. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 2006. Evolution of phytophagy. In: Evolution of the Biosphere and Biodiversity. 4. Palaeoecology and Evolution of Assemblages. Moscow: Paleontological Institute, pp. 257-270. (in Russian) [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2007. Evolution of continental aquatic ecosystems. In: Questions of aquatic entomology of Russia and adjacent lands: Materials of 3rd All-Russia Symposium on Amphibiotic and Aquatic Insects. Voronezh: Voronezh Univ., pp. 228-259. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1992. Insects of nearshore islands of Vietnam. In: Systematics and Ecology of Insects of Vietnam. Moscow: Nauka, pp. 5-20. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 2002. Phytogeographic concepts of V.A. Vakhrameev and climate theory. In: Special volume, dedicated to the memory of V.A. Vakhrameev. Moscow: GEOS, p. 125. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 1992. Freshwater Lepadomorpha (Crustacea, Cirripedia) from the Upper Permian of South Mongolia. Transactions of the Joint Russian-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition41: 95-97.
Ponomarenko A.G. 2004. Ecological consequences of arthropodisation. In: Ecosystem transformations and the evolution of the biosphere. Moscow: Paleontological Institute. 6: 7-22. (in Russian, with English abstract) [PDF]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2005. Paleontological data on the arthropod origin. In: Evolutionary Factors Shaping the Animal Diversity. Moscow: KMK, pp. 146-155. (in Russian)
Ponomarenko A.G. 2008. Early stages of arthropod evolution. In: Zherikhin V.V., Ponomarenko A.G., and Rasnitsyn A.P. Introduction to Paleoentomology. Moscow: KMK Press. (in Russian) [Excerpt]
Ponomarenko A.G. 2003. Bacteriomorph structures in Mesozoic lake deposits. In: Hoover R.B., Rozanov A.Yu., and Lipps J.H., eds. Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology VI. Proceedings SPIE 4939, pp. 88-92.
Lozovsky V.R., Minikh M.G., Grunt T.A., Kukhtinov D.A., Ponomarenko A.G., and Sukacheva I.D. 2009. The Ufimian Stage of the East European Scale: Status, validity, and correlation potential. Stratigraphy and Geological Correlation17 (6): 602-614. [Abstract] [PDF]