scientists

INTERNATIONAL BIOLOGICAL STATION “LENA-NORDENSKIOLD”


The International Biological Station (IBS) “Lena-Nordenskiold” in the Lena River Delta was set up according to the Memorandum of Mutual Undestanding between the Republic of Sakha and WWF-Sweden. The Station was opened by Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philippe in July, 95. The main objectives of the IBS are to organize and to undertake complex researches of arctic ecosystems in Yakutia, observing their biodiversity, and to conduct monitoring of the ecological situation and research sustainable use of natural resources.

The Lena River Delta is one of the key regions in the Arctic. This region is the largest in the Arctic covering more than 28,5 thousand square kilometres. The average annual water discharge is 16.300 cubic metres/per second.

There are practically all main landscape complexes of the Arctic in the Lena River Delta region, especially the intrazonal valley complexes. The typical tundra landscape is to be found in the North-West part of the Delta. The seperate islands of this landscape are in the South-West and South-East parts of the Delta. The offshoots of Kharaulahsky mountain range and Chekanovsky chain of hills form a complex mountain landscape.

The flora composition in this region is comparatively rich (373 vascular plant species, 106 moss species and 74 lichen species). There is a combination of arctic, hypoarctic and boreal elements in flora and a diversity of plant associations. It allows to research primary producers of tundra and mountain ecosystems in geobotanical, ecological and ecological-biochemical aspects.

The numerious bodies of water, river branches and nearness to the station of the estuary zone, where a fresh river water and sea salt water mix, give a unique opportunity to research, the hydrobiontes (plankton and benthos), which are the fodder (food) of valuable salmon fishes: Stenodus leucichthys, Coregonus sardinella, Coregonus nasus, Coregonus muksun and others. The Lena River Delta is a key place of fattening and formation of spawning area for these fishes. The complex study of these ecosystem components is of theoretical and practical importance.

The Lena River Delta is the main area for nesting of migratory birds in the Arctic. There are 118 species in the avifauna. The intercontinental ties, direction and distance of the delta birds populations probably, are unique in the Arctic. The study of the following species is of particular interest: Bewick’s Swan (Cignus bewickii), Black Brant (Branta bernikla), Snow Goose (Chen hyperboreus), Common (Somateria mollissima) and Steller’s (Polysticta stelleri) Eiders, Sabine’s (Xema sabini) and Ross’s (Rhodostethia rosea) Gulls, Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus). On the biological station, it will be possible to study the oppotunities of reacclimatizasion of Snow Goose (C. hyperboreus), which inhabited all area of seaside tundra in Yakitia.

The fauna of mammals is represented by tundra, mountain and northern-boreal species. The 17 species of 25 inhabit permanently this region. The Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) are the most significant species in the market of indigenous people. Presently, the quantity of these species is decreasing for different reasons. The Kharaulahsky population of Marmot (Marmota camschatica) is unique. There are 5 species of sea mammals, the situation of its population, unfortunatetly, is currently unknown. The situation of Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) which is included in “The Red Book of USSR” and “The Red Book of Yakutia” is anxious. The number of the walrus is decreasing and, therefore the number of breeding ground is reducing.

The location of the station is convenient to undertake the monitoring of water, mountain and tundra ecosystems. The Lena River Delta part is a power-full acumulator of suspended substances, including the polluted substances in the runoff of the Lena. The existence of protected lands (preserves) and industrial (navigation; floating and storing of timber; commercial hunting and fishing) areas allows to study the mutial influence of human being and the environment and the natural biological processes.

The IBS is located on the very east channel of the Lena Delta – “Bykovsky”, aproximately 70 kilometres from Tiksi. In summer, one can go to the station by air (helicopter, 1 hour ) and by river (boat, 2 hours) from Tiksi and passenger ship (3 days) from Yakutsk by the Lena River. It is possible to go by motor-boat and by launch along the Lena River Delta. About 20 persons can live in the station. There is a bath, hot and cold water supply, electricity (220V; 50Hz). The international communication is conducted by fax, E-mail from the IBS office in Tiksi. There is an office of the station, in Yakutsk, which coordinates the scientific researches.

Dr. Vladimir POZDNYAKOV phone., fax: +7(4112) 34 12 90 e-mail: sterh@yacc.yakutia.su