February 2014 - Chris Free and Talia Young, both of Rutgers University, presented their research on Lake Hovsgol at the Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii this month. Chris presented his work on microplastic pollution in Lake Hovsgol. His findings suggest that despite its remoteness, protected status, and low population density, Lake Hovsgol is more polluted with microplastics than many more developed and densely populated lakes. This is the first study to examine microplastic pollution in a large, remote, mountain lake and provides valuable insights into the sources of pollution in remote freshwater systems. A video tour of his poster is available here. Talia presented her work examining food web (or trophic) variability over time and space in the fish community of Lake Hövsgöl. This work provides a baseline of natural variability in a uniquely relatively undisturbed system, which helps us better understand food web studies in other bodies of water. This work also offers useful information to help researchers determine appropriate sample sizes when using stable isotopes to study food webs. Her poster is available here.
July 2013 - Talia Young, from Rutgers University, presented her research on Lake Hovsgol at the International Congress for Conservation Biology meeting in Baltimore, MD this month. Her work explores the fish food web in Lake Hövsgöl. Because Lake Hövsgöl has only ten species of fish and is exceptionally undisturbed by human impacts such as watershed development, dams, commercial fishing, and invasive species, it allows an ideal study system to compare with other, more highly impacted lakes.
December 2012 - Five Mongolian scientists, students, and park rangers visited Rutgers, DC, and NYC on a training trip sponsored by USAID. Mendee, Tsogoo, Amaraa, Jagi, and Chantuu spent 10 days in the US, including five days of training in field and laboratory research methods and data analysis techniques. The group also traveled to Washington, DC where they presented their research to USAID and NSF staff. During the trip, the Mongolian visitors met with US based MAAERI researchers and students.
October 2012 - The first IUCN red list assessment for Mongolian taimen (Hucho taimen, the world's largest salmonid) was released, along with assessments for two related species in the genus Hucho. Mongolian taimen were listed as "Vulnerable" based on contraction of their range in Russia, Mongolia, and China. This assessment was the result of an international taimen symposium held in New Zealand in December 2011. MAAERI scientists Zeb Hogan, Olaf Jensen, and Tsogtsaikhan Purev contributed to the assessment. Read the New York Times Green Blog article on the IUCN listing.
Photo: Clemens Ratschan
September 2012 - Kyle Hartman (West Virginia University) and Olaf Jensen (Rutgers University) complete the first measurements of respiration rates of Mongolian taimen, lenok, and Baikal grayling. Measurements of respiration rates help scientists understand how these fish species are likely to respond to warming water temperatures associated with climate change.
August 2012 - Talia Young (Rutgers University) presented her research on the Lake Hovsgol food web at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Minneapolis, MN. Talia's research uses stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon to understand predator-prey connections among Lake Hovsgol fishes, zooplankton, and benthic invertebrates like snails and aquatic insects. The broader goal is to better understand the resilience of food webs in pristine lakes like Lake Hovsgol.