Limnological Institute
Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
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Expedition on board RV “G. Titov”, August 28 – September 3, 2018

The complex expedition within the framework of the programme “Molecular Ecology and Evolution of Living Systems of the Central Asia under Global Ecological Changes” and the joint studies with French researchers from the University of Lille was carried out on board RV “G. Titov”, August 28 – September 3, 2018.

The expedition was aimed at collecting benthic invertebrates in the sublithoral zone of Lake Baikal and coastal areas of a number of neighbouring water bodies to analyse the species diversity of annelids parasitizing on these invertebrates and to search for antimicrobial peptides. In this regard, Baikal endemic leeches of the genera Baicalodbella, Paratorix and Baicaloclepsis.

Prof. F. Massol and prof. A. Tasiemski from the University of Lille participated in the expedition. On board, they isolated RNA and microflora associated with the digestive system of the studied parasitic annelids. In the future, the material collected during the expedition will be used to study biodiversity, phylogenetic connections and ecoimmunology of annelids. In total, 39 samples were collected in the Southern, Central and Northern Baikal basins. Of them, 27 samples were taken using a beam trawl and dredge on sandy soils in the depth range of 25-430 m, and 6 samples were taken by divers from stony areas of the lake. Additional investigations were performed at lakes Frolikha, Istok, Zunduk, Kulgana, and Pokoiniki, as well as lakes located at the capes Malaya Kosa and Bolshaya Kosa.