Francis Dov Por

1927, Timișoara - October 24, 2014, Jerusalem

Israeli zoologist, hydrobiologist and biogeographer

Francis Dov Por (originally Francisc Bernard Pór, in Hebrew פרנסיס דב פור, b. 1927 Timișoara - October 24, 2014 Jerusalem) was an Israeli zoologist, hydrobiologist and biogeographer, a Jew originally from Romania. In his youth he was detained in the prisons of the Antonescu fascist-military regime and of the communist regime in Romania, as a Jew and after his participation in the Zionist socialist youth movement "Hashomer Hatzair" (Young Guard).

He was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Evolution, Taxonomy, Ecology and Behavior at the Institute of Natural Sciences of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was, among others, a pioneer of hydrobiology in Israel, founder (along with Steinitz) and former director of the Marine Biology Station in Eilat.

Childhood and youth in Romania

Francis Dov Por was born in 1927 in Timișoara, as Francisc Bernard Por, son of Béla Pór (from the Politzer family who had made their name Hungarian) and Erzsébet (Elisabeta) born Klein. He had another brother, Ivan. The ancestors of the Politzer family had come from Politz-today Polička, in East Bohemia, later moved to Nikolsburg (modern-day Mikulov), and later to Makó, and from there to Cenad in Banat. Around adolescence, the Pór family moved to Bucharest.

At the age of 13, while visiting relatives in Timișoara, under the pretext that he had a toy mini-laboratory with him, he was arrested for subversive activities and taken to the Police Headquarters in Bucharest. Later, in 1944, he took part in the illegal activities of the socialist Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair in Bucharest in search of shelter and obtaining weapons in case the Jews needed to organize a resistance. These efforts (they had managed to procure three revolvers) became superfluous from the moment Antonescu's dictatorship was overthrown on August 23, 1944.

In order to continue in Romania the political activity within the "Hashomer Hatzair" movement that had become legal again, Francisc Por refused the permission to leave for Palestine. He would regret this decision. The communist regime banned all non-communist political organizations, including all Zionist groups, and threw their leaders and many militants into prisons and forced labor camps. Thus, Por, who in 1947 had become the general secretary of Hashomer Hatzair, was arrested in 1948 and then tried again and deported in 1953-1955 with other members of Hashomer Hatzair on the site of the Danube-Black Sea Canal. However, he managed to finish his studies at the Faculty of Biology at the "Constantin Parhon" University of Bucharest. After his release from prison, until 1959, he was allowed to work as a curator of invertebrates at the Museum of Natural Sciences "Grigore Antipa".

Getta Neumann, Memoirs of a Zionist - a penetrating and verve analysis

Scientific activity in Israel

In 1960 Francisc Pór emigrated to Israel, where he became known as Francis Dov Por. He settled in Jerusalem, where in 1963 he completed his doctorate in zoology at the Hebrew University. In 1964 he was appointed lecturer, in 1965 associate professor, in 1969 associate professor at the Hebrew University. Since 1976 he has been a tenured professor of zoology at this university. He taught courses in hydrobiology, fauna, philosophy of science and evolution. At the same time, for 20 years between 1977 and 1997, he made study and research trips to Brazil, where he taught as a visiting professor at the University of Sao Paolo. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo and the University of San Diego in California. In 1996 Por retired, becoming Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University.

Por was secretary of the Fauna et Flora Palaestinae Commission at the Israeli Academy of Sciences, also founding director of the Eilat Institute of Marine Biology. He chaired the Zoological Nomenclature Committee of the Hebrew Academy.

Francis Dov Por made significant studies in hydrobiology, starting in Romania - contributing to the knowledge of Eulamelibranchias and the taxonomy and biology of Copepods on the Black Sea coast, he discovered several new genera and species for science. He later expanded his research on Copepods and Isopoda Crustaceans from other palearctic and neotropical areas. Por was the founder and first president of the International Association of Copepodology. Dov Por was interested in topics of evolution and zoogiography that benefit from zoological research in Israel - such as the influence of the meeting of continents (eg Eurasia-Africa) on the development of the living world, the differences and similarities between the living world on land and the sea, how the living world developed in the Red Sea, the laws of migration of living beings from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea through the Suez Canal ("Lessepsian Migration"), also conducted research in Brazil in the Atlantic Rainforest. Concerned with the irreversible changes produced in nature, including by human activity, Dov Por initiated museology and documentation activities of the living world in Israel and was at the head of the Natural History Collections in Israel. Together with Hanan Dimantman and Tili Bromley-Shnur, Por wrote the only work describing the biological world that existed in the swamps and Hula Lake in northern Israel. He also studied the fauna of Lake Kineret (Sea of Galilee) and the benthos of the deep seas. He initiated and wrote in the Israeli Academy of Sciences the publication of a comprehensive series of books on the animal world in Israel.

Francis Dov Por was married to Esther, and the couple had a child. He died in Jerusalem in October 2014

Main research projects

  • Biogeography of the Middle East
  • ⦁ Area flooded in the Hula Valley - aquatic fauna, habitat
  • List of copepods in the inland waters of Israel.
  • Paleolimnology and archeology of the Levant.
  • Mechanisms of progressive animal evolution.
  • Cave fauna - underground crustaceans; global assessment of the "unlikely Gulf" of Aqaba-Eilat


Francis Dov Por has written 6 books, as well as numerous articles in various fields of zoology, marine biology, limnology, biogeography and biological philosophy.

  • 1989 – The Legacy of Tethys – An Aquatic Biogeography of the Levant
  • 1990 – Lessepsian migration – An appraisal and new data.
  • 1992 – Sooretama – The Atlantic Rain Forest of Brazil.
  • 1992 – Lake Hula – Reconstruction of the Fauna and Hydrobiology of a Lost Lake
  • 1994 – An Illustrated Guide of the Brazilian Mangrove. Ed. Univ. Sao Paulo
  • 1995 – Animal Achievement. A Unifying Theory of Zoology.
  • 1995 – The Soil Fauna of Israel. Vol. 1, Ed. Romanian Acad. în colaborare cu cercetãtori ai Institutului de Speologie „Emil Racovițã“ din București.
  • 1995 – A monographic study of the drained Hula wetlands (Israel) as a background for restoration
  • 1995 – The Pantanal of Mato Grosso (Brazil). World’s Largest Wetlands. (Monographiae Biologicae, vol.73). Dordrecht,
  • 1997 – O Pantanal do Mato Grosso. Series „Ambientes Brasileiros,” Adema, Sao Paulo
  • 2005 – The Biomes of Brazil / Biomas do Brasil. An Illustrated Natural History. Sofia-Moscow, Pensoft Publishers,
  • 2006 –The actuality of Lamarck: Towards the bicentenary of his „Philosophie Zoologique”.
  • 2006 – Ophel: A groundwater biome based on chemoautotrophic resources.


    • Under the name Bernard Politzer - A youth in Romania, Curtea Veche Publishing House, Bucharest, 2004

    Awards and honors

    • Corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Liège, Belgium



    • Andy Z. Lehrer art Biological sciences p.226 in Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, coordinator Nicolae Cajal, Harry Kuller - The contribution of Romanian Jews to culture and civilization Hasefer, 2004