(28 April 1929 – 2001)

Seda Arshavirovna Simonyan

Seda Arshavirovna Simonian was born in Yerevan (Armenia) in 1929 in the family of scientific workers - D.N. Teterevnikovoy-Babayan and A.A. Babayan. S.A. Simonian studied at the Biological Faculty of Yerevan State University and specialized in mycology. After graduating from the University she began postgraduate study there. The subjects of her investigations during postgraduate study in 1952-1953 were true mildew fungi (order Erysiphales). She participated in numerous field trips all over Armenia to collect fungi of this order. The analysis of vast herbarium material allowed S.A. Simonian to give preliminary evaluation of the diversity of true mildew fungi, to establish the range of their host plants, to reveal the peculiarities of their distribution in different native zones of Armenia. In 1955 S.A. Simonian defended her PhD thesis "True mildew fungi of Armenian SSR". Since 1957, S.A. Simonian as a scientific worker of the Institute of Botany Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences began long-term investigation of mycoflora of botanical gardens of Armenia, and in the first place Yerevan Botanical Garden and its branches in Kirovakan and Sevan. On the basis of observations carried out in 1957-1960, S.A. Simonian published the monograph "Fungal parasites of plants of botanic gardens of Armenian SSR" (1965). In this book mycoflora of botanic gardens, situated in different altitude-climatic zones, was reviewed. During 4 years of investigations in Yerevan Botanic Garden were found 328 species of fungi from 25 families, in Kirovakan Botanical Garden - 136 species from 21 families and in Sevan Botanical Garden - 87 species from 15 families. Moreover, for each Botanic Garden the systematic composition of fungi was determined. It was shown that in Yerevan and Kirovakan Botanic Gardens the most diverse (rich in species and genera) are families Pycnidiaceae, Pucciniaceae and Erysiphaceae, while in Sevan Botanic Garden - families Pycnidiaceae, Pucciniaceae and Mucedinaceae. The comparison of mycoflora of 3 Botanic Gardens allowed to reveal the number of fungi species common for all of studied places, as well as unique ones, which dominated in one garden but were not found in 2 others. Besides, S.A. Simonian compared the species composition of fungi from Yerevan Botanic Garden and that of some others Botanic Gardens of the USSR (Alma-Ata Botanic Garden, Kishenev Botanic Garden, Dal'nevostochny Botanic Garden). It was shown that mycoflora of Yerevan Botanic Garden is characterized by high originality and wide extent of the diversity. The overall review of mycoflora performed by S.A. Simonian included also the analysis of fungi ratio in mycoflora of 3 studied Botanic Gardens, which were situated in different floristic regions of Armenia. Fungi were also classified according to families of host-plants. The most extensive list of host-plants (62 families) was revealed for Yerevan Botanic Garden, for Kirovakan and Sevan Botanic Gardens this list was considerably smaller (34 and 32 families of vascular plants respectably). Among families of plants - hosts of large quantity of fungi species in all 3 gardens were Asteraceae, Rosaceae and Fabaceae. Moreover, in that book S.A. Simonian reviewed also mycofloras of botanic gardens from the point of view of separate systematic groups and discussed the problem of mycoflora variation according to weather conditions. In conclusion S.A. Simonian gave the general systematic list of fungi and evaluated phytopathological status of each of inspected Botanic Gardens. It should be mentioned that in that book S.A. Simonian paid the great deal of attention to fungi of order Erysiphales. In the systematic review of fungi of different Botanic Gardens S.A. Simonian presented the ratio of species and forms and also their appearance in Yerevan Botanical Garden by months.

Mycoflora of Armenian botanic gardens became the main line in scientific work of S.A. Simonian for many years. Besides botanic gardens she carried on mycological inspections in numerous arboreta of Armenia (arboretum "Sosniaki" near Stepanavan, arboretum near Idzhevan, orchard "Zeytun" near Noemberian, park of Burakan Astrophysical Observatory, arboretum of Dzhembuk resort and others). On the basis of 20-year investigations S.A. Simonian defended the Doctoral thesis "Mycoflora of botanical gardens and arboretums of Armenian SSR" in 1977. In 1981 the monograph of the same name was published. On arboreal and shrubby sorts, flower cultures and wild herbaceous plants of botanic gardens and arboretums S.A. Simonian found 1036 fungi species, 467 of which were new for Armenian flora, 306 - for the Caucasus, 96 - for the former Soviet Union. 12 species S.A. Simonian described for the first time, including Peronospora limonii Sim., Ascochyta betonicicola Sim. & Meln., A. erevanica D. Bab. & Sim., Pseudodiplodia aspleni Sim. & Meln., Septoria buxicola D. Bab. & Sim., etc. On the basis of analysis of mycoflora species composition of floristic regions, where botanic gardens and arboreta were situated, S.A. Simonian composed the list of 290 fungi species prospective for them.

S.A. Simonian revealed 943 species of vascular plants from 90 families as nutritive substratum for fungi. The richest species composition of fungi was established on representatives of numerous and ecologically plastic families Rosaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae, and also families included substantial number of introduced plants (Oleaceae, Liliaceae, Aceraceae, Salicaceae, Pinaceae etc). For the first time was elucidated the phytocoenotic role of fungi in botanic gardens and arboreta. All types of consortive relationships between fungi and vascular plants were exemined in details. According to the degree of harmfulness of fungal component in consortium S.A. Simonian distinguished 4 types of consortive relationships: 1) positive (mutually friendly); 2) indifferent; 3) negative; 4) antagonistic. The classification of consorcia suggested by S.A. Simonian is widely used by mycologists of former Soviet Union. Besides consortia, S.A. Simonian exemined also mycosynusias, arising during mutual development of two or more micromycetes on the same host organism. In botanic gardens and arboretums of Armenia S.A. Simonian observed more then 200 such cases of mutual development. The analysis of relationships between fungi - components of mycosynusias - allowed S.A. Simonian to group these synusias into 3 general types. The first type, which suggests simultaneous development of micromycetes without visible interference, is characteristic for parasitic fungi. The second type is forming accordingly to virulence of different degree of synusia components - parasitic and saprophytic fungi. The third type is characterized by hyperparasitic relationships between one fungal component of synusia towards another one. S.A. Simonian made a conclusion, that the nature of relationships of micromycetes in mycosynusias caused not only replacement of these mycosynusias, but of phytocoenoses as a whole. S.A. Simonian conducted geographical analysis of 934 species of micromycetes, which dominated in the mycoflora composition of botanic gardens and arboretums. The boreal element was dominant by the number of species (671 species - 71,8%), relatively numerous were also cosmopolitic (88 - 9,44%) and adventive (75 - 8,05%) species. Such fungi distribution confirmed Simonian's idea about the influence of northern areas on the origin of Caucasian mycoflora. At the same time S.A. Simonian considered that forming of mycoflora of botanic gardens and arboreta (as an artificial phytocoenoses) is greatly determined by native mycoflora of Armenia. As a result of migration fungi passed from native plants to introduced ones, i.e. extended the range of host plants. Sometimes the contrary event occurs: fungi passages from introducents to native plants. Long-termed observations allowed S.A. Simonian to give phytopathological evaluation to 220 species of the main woody and shrubby plants as well as recommended the most resistant to fungal diseases ones for planting in the Armenian conditions.

After publishing the monograph, where the results of her long-term investigations of mycoflora of botanical gardens and arboretums of Armenia were generalized, S.A. Simonian returned to investigations of mildew fungi. She set herself as an object to arrange materials accumulated on this group as a separate volume of "Mycoflora of Armenia". In 1994 the 7th volume of this edition "True mildew fungi of Armenia (order Erysiphales)" was published with dedication "Of blessed memory of mother, friend and teacher - Darya Nikolayevna Teterevnikova-Babayan...". The volume "Mycoflora of Armenia", prepared by S.A. Simonian on Erysiphales fungi, has a structure, traditional for fungi floras. It consists of general and special parts. In general part the data on morphology, anatomy, development cycles, evolution and phylogeny of true mildew fungi as well as the systematic review and range of their host plants in Armenia are presented. S.A. Simonian listed 106 species and 6 varieties of true mildew fungi belonging to 14 genera for Armenian flora. Among the leading genera she placed Sphaerotheca, Microsphaera, Golovinomyces, Erysiphe and Leveillula. In these genera the average number of species was 16.4. True mildew fungi were revealed on 786 species of vascular plants representing 319 genera of 64 families (i.e. on 22,5% of total number of vascular plants of Armenia). As the leading families of host plants S.A. Simonian distinguished Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Poaceae and Rosaceae.

In 7th volume of "Mycoflora of Armenia" S.A. Simonian paid a great deal of attention also to distribution of true mildew fungi of different genera according to nutriting plants. For such genera as Golovinomyces, Erysiphe, Blumeria, Leveillula she presented the spectrum of leading families of host-plants not only for Armenia, but also for the whole world. Much attention S.A. Simonian paid to spatial distribution of fungi through different floristic regions of Armenia. Taking as example true mildew fungi, S.A. Simonian practically approved her classification of their consortive relationships with host plants. She marked out 3 types of relationships: indifferent, negative and antagonistic. It was shown that among mycosynusias, formed by true mildew fungi, indifferent ones were prevailed in Armenia. S.A. Simonian finished the general part of 7th volume of "Mycoflora of Armenia" with the review of inhabiting of true mildew fungi on cultural and useful plants. The profound knowledge of morphology and biology of true mildew fungi allowed S.A. Simonian to present the keys for identification of genera and species of Erysiphales in special part of the volume. Mycologists, familiar with this group of fungi, could imagine the difficulties connected with creating of such keys. S.A. Simonian has coped with this task successfully.

The 7th volume of "Mycoflora of Armenia" was the last book of S.A. Simonian. After publication of this book S.A. Simonian for some years worked at the Institute of Botany Armenian Academy of Sciences, then she retired on a pension. In August 2001 talented and intelligent mycologist S.A. Simonian deceased.

Lists. Publications. Taxa. Kirk & Ansell form of name: Simonyan.

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