This summer two of our intrepid snorkelers, Stephanie and Steve, captured some underwater footage of the shallow, near-shore areas of Lake Baikal. As someone who is not nearly hardcore enough to brave the cold waters of the lake for that long (though I did jump in once, and there is proof!), I was really excited to see this footage and get a glimpse of the underwater landscape of Lake Baikal. I’ve compiled some of this footage to create the video below:
You may recall from previous blog posts some photographs of the bright green sponges that grow here. They are a species called Lubomirskia baicalensis that is particularly characteristic of the shallow parts of Lake Baikal. The green color is actually the result of a symbiont that lives in the tissues of the sponges. In addition to being really cool looking, these sponges provide important habitat for lots of different invertebrates, including gammarids, oligochaetes, and turbellarians.