Lake Baikal Foundation transferred grants to the winners of the Baikal Initiative 2020, a young scientists contest.
Annually, as part of the Baikal Initiative contest, the Foundation provides funding for the implementation of scientific projects that are of a relevance and reflect the current environmental challenges of the Baikal natural area. The contest is supported by Siberian Wellness Charitable Foundation The World Around You, which helps implement programs on water resources and biodiversity conservation, sustainable tourism, and ecoeducation on Lake Baikal on a systematic basis.
This year the grant fund amounting to more than 1 million rubles was divided among four projects:
1) Rescue of the Khamar-Daban Group of Forest Subspecies of Wild Reindeer in the Central Part of the Khamar-Daban Range
The project is led by Alexey Valerievich Kitaev, Head of the Scientific Department, the Baikal Biosphere Reserve:
— As part of the implementation of the project on studying the Khamar-Daban group of wild reindeer, a comprehensive environmental monitoring will be carried out, including the use of camera traps. Moreover, researchers will collect biological material found during field work in order to study it for genetic analysis. Based on the conducted field scientific expeditions, scientific methodological recommendations for the preservation of the Khamar-Daban group of reindeer will be developed.
2) Biorefinery of Organic Waste Products at Lake Baikal Territory with Use of Insects-Decomposers
The project is under the lead of Maxim Dugarovich Dagbaev, employee of the Research Institute of Biology, Irkutsk State University:
— The project is aimed at creating a technology for a biowaste proceeding with use of industrial insects-decomposers. With the help of this technology, it is possible to quickly and effectively get rid of organic waste and, as a result, get fertilizer and protein feed for animals. The research results will allow developing treatment plants and will also facilitate the search for new insect species that can proceed waste. While this technology requires incredibly low cost, it has high efficiency and safety for the environment and humans. However, it will be tested on Baikal for the first time.
3) Characteristics of Lake Baikal Viromes Using High-Throughput Sequencing: Genetic and Functional Diversity, Assessment of Viral Contamination
The project is led by Sergey Anatolievich Potapov, employee of Limnological Institute, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences:
— As part of the study, we are going to obtain several giga databases on primary structure of the viromes’ genetic material and, using bioinformatic analysis, reveal their taxonomic composition, determine the dominant taxa of viruses, namely, pathogenic and opportunistic. The resulting material will be available to other researchers from around the world for comparative analyzes, for instance, while obtaining new data from other aquatic ecosystems.
4) Educational Tourism as a Tool for Nature Complex Conservation under Conditions of Pyrogenic and Anthropogenic Pressure (the continuation of the winning project of 2019 contest)
This project is under the lead of Natalya Luzhkova, Leading Scientific Researcher of Zapovednoye Podlemorye:
— The aim of the research project is the development of a walking route from Barguzinsky to Chivyrkuisky Bay in accordance with environmental standards. This year, new forest landscapes in the drainage basin of the Krestovaya River will be studied. From a scientific point of view, it is an interesting area because complex work has not been conducted there yet. In addition, we will introduce a GIS system for the monitoring of anthropogenic pressure in the Zabaikalsky National Park.