On September 9, 2019 Lake Baikal Foundation announced the winners of the first stage of «Baikal Initiative» contest for young researchers.
The contest «Baikal Initiative» provides assistance to the young researchers aged from 25 to 35 who work on scientific projects aimed at conservation of the Baikal natural area. The contest is also aimed at popularization of knowledge about the Baikal among population.
In 2019 the contest includes three sections: scientific research and hi-tech developments; studying and preservation of biodiversity; applied solutions to environmental problems. This year 7 projects participated in the contest, among them there were 5 applications in section «Scientific research and hi-tech developments», 2 applications – in section «Studying and preservation of biodiversity». Projects in the field of applied solutions to environmental problems were not presented at the contest 2019. The experts evaluated the projects according to the technique elaborated specially for the contest.
The winners are:
- In nomination «Scientific research and hi-tech developments»: «The study of the functional features of the P-gp endemic Baikal amphipods using transfected cell lines and an assessment of the potential of using transfected cell lines for environmental monitoring tasks on Lake Baikal». Manager – Yulia Lubyaga.
- The project is related to an urgent topic: creating fast and effective methods of the Baikal environmental monitoring given the increasing anthropogenic influence on the lake. The results of the project will advance the monitoring system to a new level, enabling quantitative assessment of the effects of potentially hazardous substances on endemic organisms, given the importance of amphipods for the Baikal ecosystem.
- In nomination «Studying and preservation of biodiversity»: «The study of the Baikal seal’s cardiovascular system in normal and pathological conditions». Manager – Inna Anikienko (Babushkina). The scientific goal of the project is to study features of the Baikal seal’s cardiovascular system in normal and pathological conditions. The results can be used for establishing the cause of the Baikal seals’ mass death (like in 2017) and for professional education of vets and specialists on the Baikal seal, whom the Baikal region is currently lacking.
- At the intersection of two fields – «Scientific research and hi-tech developments» and «Studying and preservation of biodiversity» – the project «Educational tourism as a tool for nature complex conservation under conditions of pyrogenic and anthropogenic load». Manager – Natalya Luzhkova. The project is aimed at developing geoecological grounds for educational tourism development under conditions of current pyrogenic and anthropogenic load in the Central ecological zone of Lake Baikal with an example of the Svyatoy Nos peninsula. The research in Zabaikalsky national park will allow to find balance between ecotourism and environmental conservation to preserve biodiversity and demonstrate this process to the population.
Total grant funding of «Baikal Initiative» 2019 amounts to 1 million rubles. According to the Regulations of the contest, the winners must guarantee 20% of the whole project budget co-funding until December 15, 2019.
The projects which received the highest marks from the experts reflect the modern environmental issues of the Baikal natural area. In near future the researchers are to raise a part of funds for their projects to prove their social significance.