2009 Honorary Membership Award Winners

Margarita Erbajeva

Margarita Erbajeva
Photo courtesy of Margarita Erbajeva.

I am very honored to receive this high recognition from the SVP. I am very grateful to my friends and colleagues for nominating me to the Membership Award Committee.

I was born in Ulan-Ude, Buryat Republic, Russian Federation in 1938, grew up in the village in Irkutsk region and entered the Biology Department of the Irkutsk University. While a student I studied ecology of Clethrionomys rutilus in the Delta of Selenga river under zoologist Prof. Ju. Shvetsov. For my PhD, I was proposed by outstanding zoologist Igor M. Gromov to study Pleistocene small mammals—the first fossils of which were discovered at that time in the Transbaikal area. Under his supervision I prepared my candidate dissertation titled, "The history of small mammal faunas formation of Selenginian midland, Western Transbaikalia." Since 1962 my focus has been on paleontology, and I have worked at the Geological Institute of the Siberian Branch, RAS in Ulan-Ude since 1965.

The main scientific interests are: systematics, faunal dynamics, biostratigraphy of the Miocene-Pleistocene rodents and lagomorphs of the East Siberia provided in the Baikalian region and systematics, phylogeny, evolution of the Cenozoic lagomorphs of Eurasia and their implication for biostratigraphy and correlation. The study is based on the examination of fossil and modern ochotonids in the collections of the Zoological Institute (St. Petersburg), Zoological Museum, Paleontological Institute (Moscow, Russia), Institute of Zoology (Kiev, Ukraine), BMNH (UK), AMNH, Smithsonian Institutions, Carnegie museum (U.S.A.), Zoological museum of the Humboldt University in Berlin, Forschungsstation für Quartärpaläontologie and Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Senckenberg (Weimar, Germany), IVPP and Institute of Zoology CAS, Beijing (China), Universite de Bourgogne, Dijon, NMNH, Paris (France) and others.

The investigations were supported by many colleagues: I. Gromov, A. Gureev, I. Pavlinov, K. Flerov, V. Reshetov, V. Topachevskyi, K. Kowalski, J. Chaline, S. Sen, C. Radulescu, G. Höck, W. von Koenigswald, R. Angermann, E. Heintz, M. Dawson, R. Tedford, M. McKenna, L. Marcus, R. Hoffmann, R. Emry, L. Jacobs, A. Winkler, L. Flynn, J. Mead, Chow Minchen, Li Chuankuei, Zheng Shaohua and others.

My sincere gratitude to Prof. H.-D. Kahlke, who introduced me for the first time to paleontologists of the world during the paleontological meetings he organized in Weimar. Thanks to it, I have friends and colleagues in many countries who have, and continue to, help me very much. My parents and my relatives provided a different sort of support. sponsoring my visits to many countries and participation in scientific meetings. Thanks to my favourite animals, I've participated at many zoological, paleontological and geological meetings in different countries—Germany, France, Slovakia, Poland, Japan, China, Canada, Finland etc. I've organized symposiums at the 2nd and 5th International Theriological Congress (1978 - Brno, Slovakia, on rodents and 1989 - Roma, Italy, on ochotona) and at the XIX International Zoological Congress (2004 - Beijing, China on biology and systematics of Lagomorphs). I was co-organizer of two high-level international meetings in the Baikalian area in 2006 and 2007.

I have been a member with the IUCN, Lagomorph Special Group since 1979 and a member of the INQUA Sub-Commission on Stratigraphy of Asia and Pacific region since 1987. I am also currently a member of ASQUA.
It should be stressed that my studies are supported by grants from both international and Russian Foundations and some study has taken place within the framework of several international projects.

My scientific publications concern rodents and lagomorphs, among the latter mostly ochotonids. I am author and co-author of eight monographs and a number of papers, published mainly in Russia and in different countries. I can say with assurance that my supervisor Prof. I.M. Gromov and my parents are very glad, proud and deeply appreciate this award of Honorary Membership.