The Commission on Marmots Investigation of Russian Theriological Society was founded in 1986 in according to Resolution III of Russian marmots’ conference, which was included into the IV-th meeting of Russian Theriological Society (Moscow, 1986). The Commission was created to unite specialists, whose objects of interests are marmots, coordination of their study, organisation and carrying out conferences of this group, printing of materials and scientific works.
Theriological Society of Academy of Sciences was created in 1973 at the Constituent Congress meeting in Moscow. Later several specialised Commissions had been added to its structure, including the Commission on Marmots Investigation.
The initiator of its creation and its first chief was professor Dmitry Ivanovich Bibikov — leading Soviet and Russian specialist on marmots, scientist known all over the world. Prof. Bibikov’s high authority strongly assisted the unification of numerous qualified specialists’ works on marmots from different parts of the Soviet Union.
The meeting of 1967 that was named «the first» is considered to be the beginning of this unification, as later meetings are counted off this event. On March 27-29 in the Moscow Society of Naturalists under the aegis of its zoological section and the Geographical Institute of USSR a meeting «The Resources of Marmots’ Fauna» was hold under the chairmanship of R.P.Zimina and D.I.Bibikov. There were represented 52 reports on all 6 species of marmots of the Soviet Union’s fauna. Great interest to marmots’ study at that time was aroused, most of all, by the fact that these animals are an active component of natural center of a plague, an important hunting resource and, at a less degree, agricultural pests. And the meeting in 1967 was the event that stimulated the research of a wide range of questions in ecology, systematics, behaviour and practical meaning of marmots. At this meeting a great number of scientists had an opportunity to get acquainted to each other.
By the end of 60-th different aspects of marmots’ biology had been actively studied in many large scientifical centres of USSR, for example in the Zoological Institute of USSR (Leningrad), the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Evolutional Morphology and Ecology of Animals of USSR, the Geographical Institute of USSR (Moscow), Central Asiatic Antiplague Institute (Alma-Ata), Irkutian Antiplague Institute (Irkutsk), the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of USSR (Novosibirsk), the Institute of Zoology and Parasitology (Tashkent), the Moscow Lomonosov University (Moscow) e.t.c.
T.A. Seredneva and V.Ju. Rumyantsev were the Chairmans of the Commission after D.I. Bibikov. Nowadays O.V. Brandler is the Chairman of the Commission. The Commission’s work is regulated by the Commission’s Bureau whose members are elected during conferences on marmots.
Before the collapse of USSR four conferences have been held. The last of them took place in Suzdal’ on January 28 — February 1, 1991. In 1993, by the end of September, the 5-th conference called «The International Conference on Marmots of NGO Countries» took place in Ukraine (village Gaidari, biological station of Kharkov National University) with the help of Ukrainian specialist on marmots, V.A. Tokarsky.
Nowadays the Commission has had eight conferences on marmots. The VII meeting «Palearctic marmots: biology and manegment of populations» took place in 1999, in Buzuluk town of Orenburg region (Russia). It was organised by Prof. V.N. Rudi. The last VIII meeting «Marmots in Eurasian steppe biocenoses» took place in 2002, in Cheboksary — the capital of Chuvash Republic, Russia.
The Commission supports close contacts with foreign colleagues and organisations working on marmots’ study and protection. The Commission’s members took part in the INTERNATIONAL MARMOT NETWORK project.
In 1991 First International conference on marmots took place in Italy (Aosta), In 1994 — Second International conference in France (Aussois). In August 1997 the Commission hold Third International conference on marmots (Cheboksary, Russia). The Commission’s member A.V.Dimitriev took an important part in it. The proceeding on this conference will soon be published by members of the Commission.
Our experts were active doing in the IV International conference on marmots that took place in Montreux (Switzerland) in September 2002.
The last V International conference was organized by a member of Commission’s Bureau Alexander V. Esipov in September 2005 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan).
From the beginning of its work the Commission takes part in publishing scientifical materials on different problems of marmot study. It has become a tradition to finish every conference by publishing a collection of scientifical articles. With the help of the Commission two monographs and four collections of articles have been published. Also abstracts of reports declared for the debates are published for every conference.
The Commission published “Who is who” on specialists on marmots of NGO. Also a computer base of bibliography on marmots has been created.
Members of the Commission actively influence governmental decisions on the problems of protection and rational use of marmots. Recommendations of the Commission had been used in redaction of «Red Book of USSR» and «Red Book of Russia» and in redactions of regional «Red Books». Methodical works of the Commission’s members are used in the organisation of regional hunting and fishing, in the works on the acclimatisation and reacclimatisation. A great work has been done by specialists of the Commission in understanding of marmots’ role as a component of natural centres of infections. Recommendations of the Commission consist in resolutions of conferences on marmots.