Lake Baikal

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Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest lake lying in a rift zone in south eastern Siberia, on the border between Russia and Mongolia. It’s extraordinary for its immense size (over 300 miles long and over a mile deep), being formed over 20 million years ago. As well as being the world’s deepest and most voluminous, the lake also acts as a major water resource containing around 20% of the world’s surface freshwater.

Lake Baikal is a biodiversity hotspot, with over 2,500 species of plant and animal life, and the majority of which are endemic (not found anywhere else in the world). Such high levels of endemicity have led to the lake being cited as the “most outstanding example of a freshwater ecosystem” and resulted in the site being designated a World Heritage Site in 1996.

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Notts palaeolimnologists meet in China

This summer some of us palaeo researchers; Suzanne McGowan, Ginnie Panizzo, Heather Moorhouse, Mark Stevenson and Sarah Roberts, from University of Nottingham attended the 13th International Palaeolimnology Symposium (IPS) conference held in Lanzhou, China. Ginnie, who is the International Palaeolimnology Association (IPA) Young Scientist Representative, organised the Early Career Researcher Workshop at the start of the conference, which provided a great opportunity for researchers to engage in discussions on writing manuscripts, writing funding applications and applying for academic jobs. At the conference Suzanne gave a keynote talk within the ‘Putting ecology back into Paleoecology’ session, Heather presented her work on the Windermere catchment, and was awarded the best student presentation prize, and both Mark and Sarah gave talks on their work on sediment cores from lakes in Greenland and Lake Baikal.

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This was an excellent conference for us all to attend, with many interesting talks and posters in sessions including; lake sediments as recorders of human-environment interaction, new advances in applied stable isotopes, recent advances in biomarkers, and palaeolimnological work from Tibetan, Alpine, high-latitude, Polar and southeast Asian Lakes. We had a great time in China with fellow palaeolimnologists, attending talks throughout the day…and taking part in a bit of karaoke in the evening too!

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