The Baikal Session-Natural Laboratory scientific and educational expedition with the participation of schoolchildren on board the RV “Akademik V.A. Koptyug” from 23 to 29 August 2021
Limnological Institute SB RAS in cooperation with Perseus Learning Center organized the scientific and educational expedition within the framework of the Baikal - Natural Laboratory profession-oriented session, and with the support and direct participation in the educational process of Helicon Company. The expedition was attended by ten schoolchildren from different schools of the Irkutsk Region (Irkutsk, Angarsk, Khomutovo, and Osinsky District), who passed a competitive admission. The educational programme included daily lectures and practical training in three fields: sanitary microbiology, morphological and molecular genetic methods for studying species diversity of Baikal endemic sponges and the study of Baikal zooplankton. Practical training on sanitary microbiology included a sampling of surface and deep water using a bathometer, filtrating water through membrane filters and inoculating bacteria to selective media as well as analysing the morphological diversity and number of bacterial colonies. Practical training on zooplankton included sampling using a Juday net and a bathometer, detecting species of the collected representatives of Baikal zooplankton using a microscope and a key guide and counting the number of zooplankton. Practical training on the study of species diversity included detecting species of endemic sponges by morphological characters. The following methods of molecular genetic analysis were trained: DNA extraction and gel electrophoresis.
Also, a specialist from Helicon Company conducted a lecture and practical training on flow cytometry. Each day of the expedition was very rich. In addition to the educational programme, the participants had an entertainment programme: small walks were carried out to observation platforms in the Bolshiye Koty settlement and near Peschanaya Bay, as well as along the path from Peschanaya Bay to Babushka Bay. There were also campfire evening activities, games, songs, and a photography competition. On the final day of the expedition, the participants presented their scientific reports in the form of a poster session in all three fields of scientific and educational activities.
We wish the expedition participants that the knowledge gained will be useful to them in their future studies and professional activities!