The lab is bustling today as most of our team prepares to go out on the lake for a twelve day sampling cruise. Lake Baikal is over 600 km long and the team will be traversing most of it, making stops in each of the three basins (south, central, and north) as well as in several warmwater bays. Katie, Danny, and I will stay behind in Bolshie Koty to keep ongoing experiments running.
The goals for the cruise are numerous. Some of the samples will go toward analyses of genetic variation across the lake, some are being collected for metagenomic analyses, and some will be preserved to look for evidence of the parasite Saprolegnia that Ted has seen infecting Epischura baikalensis here at our station. In Chivyrkuy Bay the team will do some intense sampling along several transects to look at the transitions in species assemblages between the warm waters of the bay (where cosmopolitan species are common) and the colder open Baikal water (where endemics like E. baikalensis dominate). They will also hopefully bring back some live samples of cosmopolitan zooplankton from the warm bays so that we can subject them to the same experiments that we’ve been doing on Epischura. It promises to be an intense and fruitful trip, and us landlubbers look forward to hearing all about our colleagues’ scientific triumphs.