Baikal biological station

Baikal biological station – is among the oldest research institutions of Eastern Siberia, and the oldest at the lake Baikal. It was founded in 1916, joined to the Irkutsk University in 1921, and, with the foundation of Biology and Geography Research Institute in 1923 became its research division. Now it is functions as Baikal biological station of Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University.

The Professor staff of the Irkutsk State University was engaged in environmental researches, particularly related with the lake Baikal studies, since its foundation in 1918. The heads of the three oldest biological chairs produced a great income to the progress of our knowledge of the lake ecosystem. Professor V. C. Dorogostaisky, the head of vertebrate zoology chair, investigated baikalian fishes and was the first director of the Biological Station of the University, Professor B. N. Svarchevsky, the head of invertebrate zoology chair, studied baikalian sponges and was the first director of the Biology and Geography Institute of Irkutsk State University, and Professor V. N. Yasnitsky, the head of botany chair, discovered many peculiarities of baikalian plankton dynamics and was also the second director of the Biological Station.

The history of the lake Baikal life research is strongly connected with the history of Biology and Geography Institute of Irkutsk State University (now Scientific Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University) and its Biological Station situated at the shore of the lake Baikal in Bolshiye Koty settlement (100 km from Irkutsk). The functioning of the biotic community of Baikal is investigated by the Institute from its foundation in 1923. Then, there were Professor Kozhov (the director of the Institute since 1930s till 1968) who was the person recognized the necessity of the special branch of aquatic ecology and limnology – the Lake Baikal science (so called “baikalovedenie” in Russian) and his daughter, Professor Kozhova (the director of the Institute 1970–2000), who has formed the main structure of this science. Now the Lake Baikal science is being enriched with new facts, hypotheses and theories by the multiple researchers, including inheritors and students of the Kozhovs family from the Irkutsk University.