Many thanks to our friends from Baikal Limnological Institute for opportunity to join their circum-Baikal expedition 2016, on the results of which the feature had been written, and to GEO editorials for the engagement and help in the creation of the story.
A small stuff in National Geographic (Russia) Magazine (November 2016) about the amazing inhabitant of the Lake of Baikal – gastropods turriformis. Photo: Viktor Lyagushkin, text by me, your humble servant.
Special thanks to Professor Dmitry Shcherbakov for an entertaining night conversation about snails 🙂
Well, it’s another reason for our collective pride. A feature story in the popular science magazine GEO (Russia) about environmental problems of Baikal. Unusual and ancient animals, Baikalian sponges are responsible for the purity of Baikal water. But something happened, and the epidemic broke out in the sponges. What happens at the bottom of Baikal, what do scientists do, and how to find the cause of the disease – in this piece for GEO, September 2016.
A feature story in 8/16 Unterwasser Diving Magazine
Few years ago scientists had some worries about big amounts of algae, which had been never part of the Baikal lake biosphere. The alien algae grew year by year and now it seized almost the whole part of the lake shore, up to depth of 40 m. The whys of it is a result of growing touristic activity and absence of normal water and waste water facilities.
The main problem is not the algae by itself, but the changes it started in the shallow waters. There are hundreds of endemic species living in Baikal are now threatened and may disappear within several years.
The planet will still have the lake as a reservoir of the fresh water, but as unique water body with unique life we may lost it forever.
Problems of Lake Baikal are not just concern of Russia, it is an issue of all mankind. Baikal is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, and today its unique ecosystem is at risk. The article at the National Geographic site, illustrated with photos by Viktor Lyagushkin, is devoted to the problems of the lake.
In the autumn of 2013 near the town of Severobaikalsk storms washed ashore about a half thousand tons of tangled thread-like algae; the green mass laid rotting on the shore and spreading an unpleasant smell. Accumulations of stinking slime appeared near other settlements around Baikal. Local people were worried. Then jittery news began to appear, that the Spirogyra – so the name of alien had been heard for the very first time – kills Baikal.
In 2015 Baikal Limnological Institute announced the situation was caused by anthropological influence and urgent measures are needed.
The Lake is on the edge of ecological catastrophe. We did media coverage of the development of the situation; the results are published in the different magazines and documentary at My Planet Channel. Are Russian authorities going to change the situation? We have a hope that pressure of public (both Russian and International) opinion would have influence. The PHOTOTEAM.PRO is going to come back and complete the reportage about threat of death of the biggest fresh water reservoir of our planet and its unique biological ecosystem.
UPD: The article online is here