Valeria (Alla) Mikhalevich

Winner. Scientist of the Year 2016. Natural Sciences

Contestant's Profile

Valeria Mikhalevich

Valeria (Alla) Mikhalevich

Academic title, degree: Corr. Member of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Literature (EASAL), Doctor of Biological Sciences, Member of the Scientific Council of the St. Petersburgian Union of Scientists, Honorable member of Grzybowsky Foundation
Fields of science: Protozoology, Evolution
Research interest: Morpho-functional organization, evolution and taxonomy of Foraminifera, as well as their fauna, ecology and zoogeography
Place of work: Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Position: Leading Research Officer
Country: Russian Federation

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About Contestant

After graduating with honors of the Biological Faculty of the St. Petersburgian University in Honour of A.I. Herzen Valeria (Alla) Mikhalevich began to work in the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Laboratory of Protozoology (1961) where she currently works and where had Candidate (1975) and Doctoral (1992) Dissertations. She is the author of ~300 scientific publications, including those in the international established editions, 5 monographs and chapters in Manual on Zoology (“Nauka”, SPb., 2000) and in the “Evolutionary Biology from Concept to Application, Pt I., P. Pontarotti (ed.), Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 2008. In the monograph “Post-Cambrian Testate Foraminifera as a System in its Evolution, Nova Sci publishers, USA, N.Y., 2013 fundamentally new insight into Foraminiferal system and evolution and the new Foraminiferal macrosystem are represented including profound revision of the previous heterogenous taxa and description of 140 new taxa of different taxonomic level, 11of which are of the class rank. This principal new approach often called as radical, revolutionary, was based on the morphological analysis of about 5000 genera recorded since Cm. It permits to discovere the independent and parallel origin of the calcareous shell wall in different phyletic lines (opposite to the previous views) and was supported by the molecular data (Pawlowsky et al, 2013). Further elaboration of the Foraminiferal macrosystem in the two international sites (edited by M. Hesemann, and by S. Brands) and in the International Working Group Foraminiferal Classification (IWGFC - where I’m co-chairman) is based on this new conception.

System Evolution

Post-Cambrian Testate Foraminifera as a System in its Evolution

Dr. Mikhalevich also studied fauna, ecology and geographical distribution of foraminifera in the different areas of the World Ocean (Atlantic, Arctic and Antarctic), Black and Caspian seas, unique salt Middle Asia wells. Results on Antarctic foraminifera are introduced to the USA bibliography database on Cold Regions Sci/Technology, on the Tropical Atlantic - in the monograph “Bottom Foraminifera off the shelves of the Tropical Atlantic”, Leningrad, Proc. Zool. Inst., USSR Academy of Sci., 1983. All the results received could be used to solve practical problems in warming, search for hydrocarbon deposits, pollution, promising fishing areas, others.

Dr. Mikhalevich participated in several expeditions, the dozens of international scientific conferences, including those of IWAF and ESOF where in 2006 in Munich she was the only organizer of seminar from Russia, EBA Summit of Leaders in Science, Oxford, 2014; others, some with key-note reports at the plenary sessions. In 1998 she worked as invited professor in Anger University (France), in 2015 was lecturing in Urbino University (Italy) at International School on Foraminifera (ISF).

Mikhalevich Conference

Participants at the first meeting of the "International Working Group on Foraminiferal Classification", Cluj-Napoca, 2003. From the left: Dr. Monica Crihan, Prof. Johann Hohenegger, Dr. Valeria Mikhalevich, Dr. Roberto Rettori, Dr. Michael Kaminski, Dr Galina Pronina-Nestell, Prof. Sorin Filipescu, Prof. Theodor Neagu

Dr. Mikhalevich also was organizer and head of TV (“Scientific Council”, SPb canal-100, under A. Sokurov leadership), Radio “The Open City”, schools and Institutions educational programs.

Dr. Mikhalevich has the following Awards in Science: Sertificates of Honor of the Russian Academy of Sci 2002, 2012, 2014; Grzybowski Foundation Award, 2006 (Intern. Micropaleontol. Soc.); Woman of the year in science-2009, St. Petersburg; EASAL Testatur 2012; Certificate of Excellence in the "Best Manual Category", Club of Rectors Academic Council, Oxford: for the book "Post-Cambrian Testate Foraminifera as a system in its evolution"2014; Commemorative medal 100 year anniversary of Russian Paleontological Society 2016; some literary Awards (as a member of the Union of Writers and PEN club).

Achievements 2016

Work on 4 projects:
1. Morphology and taxonomy of Foraminifera: further elaboration of the fundamentally new Foraminiferal macrosystem offered earlier (1992 – 2013, including articles in Grzybowski Foundation editions (2004 – 2012), Journal of Micropaleontology (2001), Micropaleontology (2004, V. 50 (2). 2009, V. 55(1), 2011, V. 57 (2, 6), 2013, V. 59 (6)). This new approach and classification was later supported by the molecular data of Pawlowski school. (In 2016 - publication of the new subfamily Petschoricinae (order Saccamminida) in the Paleontological Journal - in Russian and English),


2. Evolutionary regularities at the lower levels of organization of the living matter and new insight into evolutionary development of Foraminifera since Cm (publication of the 4 articles in Russian, English summaries),
3. Long-term observations on the two miliolid species in culture, their feeding, unusual way of moving, repairing of the broken chambers, sexual and asexual reproduction (3 articles in Russian, 2 of them in Zoological Journal),
4. Fauna and ecological distribution of Prydz Bay foraminifera (Antarctic) (article in press in Proceedings of the Zoological Institute).

Lecturing on ISF (Internatinal School on Foraminifera) in Urbino University, Italy (June 2015). 

Reporting (oral presentations, including those at the plenary sessions) at the International and local Scientific Conferences (4 during 2015-2016).

Active work as:
• co-chairperson of the IWGFC - Intern. Working Group Foraminiferal Classification (Grzybowsky Foundation),
• member of Scientific Council of SPASS (St. Petersburg Assosiation of Scientists and Scolars),
• member of EUROSCIENCE.

Award: Memorial Medal of the anniversary of Russian Paleontological Society (2016).

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