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Diatom of the month - February 2018: Aulacoseira baicalensis

by Sarah Roberts*
Lake Baikal (Siberia, Russia) contains 1/5th of the world’s freshwater and is thus the largest freshwater lake by volume. This ancient lake is over 25 million years old, it harbours many endemic species, and its ecosystem and water quality areincreasingly threatened by rising anthropogenic activity. Recent studies have found shoreline pollution at Lake Baikal, with blooms of algae indicative of eutrophic conditions; this littoral water deterioration is a result of nutrient enrichment from outdated sewage treatment plants from shoreline settlements (Timoshkin et al., 2016). However, we do not know the extent of the pollution and whether the pelagic regions are now eutrophic. Sedimentary diatom assemblages at Lake Baikal have been extensively studied in the past, with palaeolimnological studies investigating the impacts of pollution and climate change on diatom community composition (Mackay et al., 1998) and predicting future diatom assemblage change with lake warming (…

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