Baikal’s floral diversity

About a week ago I blogged about swimming in the lake, and I made an offhand remark about the amazing flower diversity here.  Well, its been a week and the flowers are still impressing.  And given that Steph’s and my time here is getting short, I wanted to make sure we had a chance to get off another blog entry before we left.

The biological station here was an interesting experiment this summer – on the grounds they by and large discouraged the local cattle from grazing, but in the village the cows and horses go where they will.  As a result, the green spaces in the village look like manicured lawns, but for our first two weeks here the biological station grounds were covered in a lush lawn of wildflowers.  Recently, the biological station grounds were mowed and the cows have now been let in to consume the cut grass.

The view of wildflowers from the window of the lab shows the lushness and diversity of grasses and flowers before they were mowed. Photo: SL Katz

When the flowers were here however, they demonstrated an amazing diversity of form.  I took a number of photographs, only a small selection of which I have room to post here.  I will rely on the adage that each is worth many words and keep my text pretty brief.   Indeed, with the cell phone modems we are using, I need to keep everything pretty brief.  So I will wait to post larger, higher resolution versions of these images until we get back to a faster internet connection.

A selection of images of the local wildflowers that have bloomed during the time we have been at the Biological Station at Bolshie Koty. Photos: SL Katz

A small flower from a small, mint-like plant that occurs in the cobbles immediately at the shoreline of Lake Baikal. Photo: SL Katz

Many of these buds are so small that much of the interesting anatomical details only became apparent after viewing the photographs.

That said, spending time observing these wildflowers motivates a couple of impressions.  First, just as in the old idiom, bees really are quite busy.  The bees here seem so much more engrossed in their work and so much more indifferent to my observations than the bees at home.

A couple of the countless bees working tirelessly to collect pollen and nectar on the local flowers. Photo: SL Katz

More seriously, along with the flowers the insects are also amazingly diverse.  There appear to be dozens of different bees, flies, wasps and beetles – all visiting flowers as if the flowers themselves are ringing dinner bells.  It really provides a powerful impression to support the more rigorous notion that diversity is reflected across communities –i.e. high pollinator diversity begets high pollinatee diversity.

These are a small sample of the diversity of insects that we have observed on the local flowers. Photo: SL Katz

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3 Responses to Baikal’s floral diversity

  1. Debbie Donahue says:

    I’ve been enjoying reading the Lake Baikal posts. Loved the striking images on this page! I’m visualizing a few new pics on the NCEAS halls! Looking forward to seeing some more.

  2. Pingback: Baikal’s fungal diversity | Lake Baikal Dimensions of Biodiversity

  3. Pingback: Second wave of 2013 Baikal arrivals | Lake Baikal Dimensions of Biodiversity

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