It has been two years since Lake Baikal Foundation started to support one of the key projects of Scientific Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University – a long-term ecological monitoring program on lake Baikal entitled «Point No1».
Due to reassignment of state allocations for science in favor of short-term competitive projects, «Point No1» was on the verge of closing due to underfunding.
The project has been put on the Guinness Book of World Records list as the most long-lasting regular environmental monitoring project in history of science: the project has been conducted without interruptions for over 70 years. The monitoring program was launched by world famous researcher of the lake Professor Mikhail Kozhov in February 1945. The survey implies taking samples of phyto- and zooplankton, measuring the pelagic zone (the water column). All data are recorded in the unique database which represents an array of valuable information for scientific community. Monitoring data is also included into the annual state report «The State of Lake Baikal and Measures for its Protection» issued annually by the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation.
Despite the fact that the major part of the lake Baikal environmental monitoring is carried out by authorized state bodies, historically, it was the experts of Scientific Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University who made comprehensive analysis of species composition of phyto- and zooplankton. Over five million records have been accumulated reflecting the weekly condition of the lake Baikal pelagial ecosystem throughout seven decades.
Such kind of research is essential for monitoring the condition of lake Baikal because the quality of its water is defined for 90% by plankton. As plankton’s quantitive and qualitative characteristics are constantly changing, it is necessary to provide permanent monitoring and sampling. Only thanks to such long-lasting research which is being held for decades, it is possible to detect important trends of the Baikal’s ecosystem. Сonsidering invaluable importance of «Point No1» for studying and saving Baikal, the Foundation provided financial assistance to the project.