Professor Oleg Nikolayevich Bauer (1915-2003)
Professor Oleg Nikolayevich Bauer, renowned Russian scientist, died on 11th May 2003 in St. Petersburg, Russia after a grave illness, at the age of 87. Best known for his extensive experience and contributions as a distinguished pioneer in the fields of fish parasitology and diseases, he helped to establish and raise these fields to international prominence. Like the rest of the parasitological community, we too grieve at his passing and will miss his wise counsel on the Editorial Board of Acta Parasitologica, where he served for many years.
Oleg Nikolayevich Bauer was born on 7th July 1915 old style, i.e. 20 July new style in the village of Yablonitsy, about 100 km South-West from Petrograd, where his family spent their summers. He was a descendant of an intellectual, well-educated family whose remote German ancestors first lived in Saaremaa, an island belonging at present to Estonia, before settling in St. Petersburg in the 18th century. Academician A.Ye. Fersman (1883-1945), one of the founders of geochemistry, was among his relatives. Professor Bauer's father Nikolay Pavlovich Bauer (1888-1942) till the revolution 1917, taught history in Annenschule, one of the most prestigious schools in the Russian capital. It is most probable that his son started his secondary education there. His father was also a skilled specialist in numismatics who worked for about 20 years in the Hermitage Museum, in the Department of coins. During the blocade of Leningrad in World War II (WW.II), his father was arrested and subseqently executed by the NKVD, Soviet Security Police (rehabilitated in 1989). The traditional, long-lasting connections of Bauer's family with the Hermitage Museum has survived 3 generations for Professor Bauer's only son, Sergey Androsov, an expert in Italian sculpture, is now working as a curator in that renown Museum.
In 1932, Oleg Nikolayevich Bauer entered Leningrad State University, where he studied zoology under the world-famous Russian protozoologist and parasitologist Professor V.A. Dogiel, who headed the Department of Invertebrate Zoology. At that time, Professor Dogiel was beginning to establish the fundamentals of ecological parasitology. His student, O.N. Bauer, was thus able to participate in the origins of this new scientific discipline, while continuing his research on the parasites and diseases of fishes.
In 1937, O.N. Bauer graduated from the University and, after a brief period of assignment as a rural school teacher in the remote settlement of Sharan (Bashkiria), he returned to Leningrad in 1939 to begin his scientific career as a Junior Scientist in the Laboratory of Fish Diseases at the State Institute of Lake and River Fisheries (GosNIORKh). This Laboratory had earlier been established in 1929 by Prof. V.A. Dogiel, who remained its head until his death in 1955. One of the major objectives of GosNIORKh was to survey the parasites of the fishes of the USSR. In keeping with this objective, the young O.N. Bauer lead two important expeditions entrusted him by Prof. Dogiel to collect fish parasites from the Yenisei and Lena Rivers, deep in the remote, uninvestigated areas of Siberia. The first expedition was completed in 1940 but the second was interrupted by the spread of WW II and it was not until 1948 that the results were finally published. Prof. Dogiel's student, S.S. Schulman (1918-1997), who was part of the Yenisei River expedition, much later became the author of the whole first volume of the "Key to Parasites of Freshwater Fishes of the USSR", edited by O.N. Bauer. After WW II, O.N. Bauer was able to continue his investigations at GosNIORKh as a Senior Researcher. In 1958 he became head of the Laboratory of Fish Diseases, and later became it's Deputy Director from 1963 to 1967.
At the invitation of Academician B.E. Bychovsky in 1968, O.N. Bauer became a Senior Scientist of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a member of the Soviet National Committee on the International Biological Program. In 1977, he succeeded B.E. Bychovsky as Head of the Laboratory for the Study of Parasitic Worms, where his constant friendly interest, support and many contributions created an atmosphere in which science could thrive. Professor Bauer remained the Head of this Laboratory until 1985.
Professor Bauer was a prolific research scientist who published more than 350 scientific papers while at the Institute of Lake and River Fisheries and at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was Editor in Chief of the classic "Key to Parasites of Freshwater Fishes of the USSR", published in three volumes from 1985 to 1987, which summarized 50-years of intensive investigations in the field. His special interest, however, was in aquaculture and parasitic faunas and diseases of fishes occurring in natural environments. He is the senior author and he helped the other coauthors of the manuals "Ichthyopathology" and "Pond Fish Diseases", publications that ran into several editions and were translated into English and Estonian. While he wrote on a wide range of topics, his research on the parasite fauna of fish from Siberian rivers are, as observed by Pugachev et al. (2003: 1265) "...an example of fundamental research, in what we now regard as classical survey, inventory and biodiversity assessment." and his research, "was a serious contribution to the development of ecological parasitology." He recognized that in the treatment and prevention of fish diseases, one must integrate knowledge of the biology of both pathogens and the fish hosts. He and his staff and students wrote many manuals and methodical recommendations on the control of fish diseases. As an aid to specialists in fish diseases in his own country and throughout the world, he abstracted for more than 15 years all literature on parasites and diseases of fishes and aquatic invertebrates published in the USSR, and prepared annual bibliographic indices.
As an educator, Professor Bauer not only established a school for parasitologists and fish pathologists but also he helped to develop lecture courses on fish parasitology, fish pathology and diseases for higher educational institutions, focusing on fisheries and veterinary medicine. He supervised the thesis research of more than 10 post-graduate students. Graduates of his school can be found today not only in central institutions, but also in various regions of the former Soviet Union. In addition to training scientific staff, he was also an internationally respected consultant in aquaculture and fish diseases, who kindly provided literature and substantial insights from his own studies to parasitologists around the world. He was fluent in several foreign languages including English and German.
Professor Bauer was quite active with editorial and professional, scientific commitments. From 1967 to 1975, he served on the editorial board of the journal Parazitologiya, founded by B.E. Bychovsky in 1967, and from 1975 to 1989, he was its associate editor. At the time of his death, he was on the editorial boards of Acta Parasitologica, Journal of Applied Ichthyology and Journal of Fish Diseases. In addition to his many administrative and research responsibilities, he was, prior to 1989, President of the Scientific Consulting Council for Fish Diseases under the Interdepartmental Ichthyological Commission in Moscow. He was an outstanding scientific organizer. In 1991-1992, Professor Bauer voluntarily carried out the preliminary work that preceded the organization of the Parasitological Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This dedication to his profession and productive research was recognized and respected throughout the international scientific community by his election as an honorary member of the European Association of Ichthyopathologists and of the American Society of Parasitologists.
At the personal level, he was one of those rare scientists who held high, exacting standards yet was a modest, kind, and generous person. He was a true, noble gentleman; to his students, he was a caring, conscientious mentor. He had the love and respect of many friends and colleagues in Russia and throughout the world, attracted to him by his knowledge, strength of character and warm personality. As a devoted husband, father and grandfather, he was immensely proud of his son and granddaughters and did not hesitate to enthusiastically relate stories of them to his colleagues. He had a loving wife Elena Ivanovna Androsova, a well known specialist in Bryozoa. They married in 1947. She was also working for a long period of time in the same Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. Professor O.N. Bauer is survived by his wife, son and his granddaughters.
As the oldest surviving founder of the school that formalized study of the parasitology, pathology and diseases of fish, his passing is a profound loss to Russian and world parasitology. He will long be remembered in the hearts of his family and friends and by a grateful scientific community. The death of Oleg Nikolayevich Bauer marks the end of a rich, pioneering era.
Page compiled by M. Bultowicz. Last modification: 23-03-2004