Eastern Siberia is home to the world’s deepest and most ancient freshwater ecosystem, Lake Baikal. This lake and its surrounding tributaries are one of the largest sources of pure drinking water in the world, containing some of the most diverse and unique organisms. Recent biological changes are causing a major shift in the composition of this system, which could have global ramifications. According to David Garbary, editor of Phycologia, “this is one of the most important freshwater systems in the world, and it is undergoing major changes as a consequence of climate change, industrial pollution and eutrophication.”
One of the most recognizable shifts affecting Lake Baikal is the rapidly increasing number of Spirogyra, a diverse form of algae. Researchers from the Limnologiceskij institut SO RAN, Irkutsk, Russian Federation, recently conducted a study published in the current issue of Phycologia. The study reports the first data on the growing population of Spirogyra found in and around Lake Baikal and its tributaries.