In 2021, for the fifth year in a row, Lake Baikal Foundation continues to provide financial support to the record-breaking project of Russian science, a long-term ecological monitoring program of Lake Baikal «Point No1».
«Point No1» project is an example of a unique scientific program on a global scale. Since 1945, a team of scientists from Scientific Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University has been taking weekly and uninterrupted samples from Lake Baikal at «pelagic station No1» (so-called «Point No1»), located in Southern Lake Baikal, opposite the village of Bolshye Koty (2.7 km from the shore, above a depth of 800 m). Then they identify hundreds of species of zoo and phytoplankton under a microscope and forms a valuable database of indicators of the state of the lake ecosystem. Over the 76-year history of the program, several generations of scientists who study Lake Baikal have changed, but the approaches and methods used to analyze the collected material have not changed. This approach provides unlimited possibilities for comparing the data obtained over the entire observation period. Over 5 million records have been accumulated describing the lake’s pelagial (water column, plankton habitat) to date. «Point No1» was included in the Russian Book of Records as the longest project of regular environmental monitoring in the history of science.
«Point No1» is the first grant project of Lake Baikal Foundation. In 2016, the program was on the verge of closure after more than 70 years of continuous implementation due to unstable budget funding. The expert community risked losing the project, which provides continuous valuable data on the state of the pelagic zone, the world’s largest freshwater storage facility. Given the indisputable importance of monitoring, the Foundation decided to support the scientists and provide the necessary funding for the program for the team.
This year, Lake Baikal Foundation allocates 1.5 million rubles for the project. Thus, over 5 years of cooperation between the Foundation and scientists from Scientific Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University, more than 8 million rubles have been transferred to support the program. These funds allow us to ensure the stable work of the team and attract young specialists to it. The high value of monitoring data has been repeatedly noted at the international level — monitoring data is regularly cited in scientific publications, and the last three years have been included in the global report «State of the Climate» on the state of the climate of our planet, edited by the American Meteorological Society.
Lake Baikal Foundation supports research initiatives on Lake Baikal and strives to provide comprehensive assistance to the development of «Point No1». He is assisted in this by private donors, partners and a corporate trustee, the Siberian Wellness Corporation charitable foundation «The World Around You». In April 2021, the first tranche of 500 thousand rubles has already been transferred to the salary of the project team and its technical support.
Photo: Ilya Sakulin