Lev and I just returned from a second sampling cruise in partnership with the Baikal Museum. We collected samples from the Northern, Central, and Southern basins, along with samples from two shallow bays on the Eastern side of the Lake. As expected, the warmer water samples were filled with cosmopolitan species, Daphnia and Cyclops. However, it was interesting to note the changing composition of the samples as we headed back to deeper waters from the bays where Epischura once again dominated. The cruise was a huge success with more than enough samples to take back to our labs for genetic analysis.
During our cruise we stopped by “Nerpa Headquarters” in the Northern Basin, where we hiked across an island to find ~40 Nerpa lounging on the rocks and in the bay.
We also went SCUBA diving to collect different amphipod species for genetic analysis. I’m excited to get them back to the lab to identify! The bottom of the lake is immensely interesting with amphipods of all different colors and shapes roaming around in the substrate. One could literally reach out and grab several Acanthagammarus maximus at a time. The biodiversity of this system is truly amazing, and seeing it underwater is something I will not soon forget!
Videos of snorkeling and SCUBA to follow as soon as bandwidth allows!