RGO 2018

RGO 2018

We have a great deal of luck this year!!!

The expedition project of the IBPN FEB RAS was supported by the Board of Trustees of the RGO.

 Our project is called "Lake-river systems of high-mountain glacial plains of the cryolithozone."

 The North of the Far East is a distinctive region with untapped potential both for research and for ​​recreational development of the promising area. The peculiarity of the region is conditioned by the harsh climate and various landforms with a predominance of mountain and mountain taiga landscapes, where the permafrost manifests itself everywhere. Lake systems and wetlands of different genesis are developed on lowered and leveled spaces. The remoteness of the territory and expensive logistics, as well as the negative socio-economic processes of the last decades, have slowed down the study of the biological diversity of the North-East of Russia. The vast expanses of the Far Eastern North remain to be a “white spot” on the map of biological and environmental studies.

In particular, all mentioned above concerns the Chersky Range - the mountain system, which is the largest geographical discovery of the 20th century described by the expedition of S. V. Obruchev. In its south-eastern part the Chersky Range wedges into the area of the Magadan Region, where its slopes are drained by the headwaters of large left-bank tributaries of the Kolyma - the Omulevka and Yasachnaya rivers. The most important landscape feature of this part of the Chersky Range is the development of intermountain basins raised to an altitude of 800-1000m and occupied by wetlands, as well as large and small lakes of various genesis. The biological diversity of these basins, as well as the foothills and slopes occupied by larch sparse forest, stony and lichen tundras, is almost not explored. Until now this area has been little disturbed, but from the south and west, the ranges of aggressive industrial development are approaching to it.

The proposed project is aimed at a complex biological study of the territory. Up to the present day, a comprehensive understanding of the plant and animal world of these areas, in particular the “lake-river systems” has not been formed. When using the phrase “lake-river systems”, we mean not only the lakes, but also the nearest, directly connected watercourses, small, most often thermokarst lakes, as well as areas of terraces limiting water bodies. Data on the terrestrial flora and fauna of this territory is also extremely scarce. We suppose, the study of the ecosystem of the large mountain lakes of this region will serve as a “driver” to solution of  a number of specific issues relating to the phylogeny of the Arctic chars, the adaptation of small mammals, the state and genesis of avifauna, freshwater hydrobiology and parasitology of fish and birds.

As a model site we have chosen the lake-river system of the intermountain basin of the Okhandya and Ulakhan-Chistai Ranges. Large lakes Malyk, Momontai, Darpir, etc. are located in the depressions of this wide glacial valley and in its lateral branches. The local watersheds of major rivers – the Burkandya, Omulevka, Rassokha, are located here. The peculiarity of the proposed project consists in interdisciplinary approach, which allows obtaining of a comprehensive picture of the composition and diversity of the animal and plant world of this territory in a relatively short period of time and at a rather low cost. The lake-river systems under consideration belong to the basins of various tributaries of the Kolyma R., their mouths are hundreds kilometers distant, and they were settled in different ways. We assume that the data collected during the expedition will allow comparing the Momontai and Darpir lake ecosystems, which represent the final sites of the ancient dispersal routes of ichthyofauna.

The relevance of the expeditionary project is conditioned by the need to preserve and transfer to future generations the distinctive natural heritage of the region, which directly depends on a timely survey of the territory, the planning of specially protected areas and educational work. In this regard, lakes Darpir and Momontai with the adjacent territories, serve as a suitable pennant for environmental, educational and recreational activities. They have long belonged to the tourist "pearls" of the Magadan region and south-eastern Yakutia. Such kind of activities accompanied with reliable scientific information can give an additional impetus to their development in the future. The assessment of the biological diversity of the area and the characteristics of the biological systems functioning are the key issues in the environmental impact assessment of industrial development projects and in planning of specially protected natural territories. In particular, according to some indirect characteristics, large lakes of the Chersky Range meet the criteria for a list of wetlands of national importance (criteria for the Ramsar Convention).

Thus, the goal of our project is a detailed biological survey of the intermountain basin of the southeastern spurs of the Chersky Ridge with the Lake Darpir (the Rassokha river basin) and Lake Momontai (the Omulevka river basin), as well as the entire range of water bodies developed on the territory, as a potential environmentally protected site of the vast mountainous country of Northeast Russia

 Tasks:

1. To conduct a comprehensive expeditionary survey of the flora and fauna of the lake-river systems of the glacial plain bounded by the Okhandya, Ulakhan-Chistai Ranges and the Omulevsky middle mountain Range.

2. Create a scientific base (inventory of terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna) for information support and development of environmental activities, ecological tourism and environmental education in the North Far East.