Ecological Invasions

An algal transformation in Lake Baikal

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1083-1084
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6393.1083-c

Human-induced changes in Lake Baikal have resulted in the spread of a previously rare filamentous alga.


In central Siberia, Lake Baikal—the world's deepest freshwater lake—is undergoing ecological change. Volkova et al. report that species of the filamentous mat-forming alga Spirogyra, formerly present at low abundance in restricted areas of the lake, have proliferated and diversified in recent years. Spirogyra has invaded shallow-water zones of the lake, and several species have appeared in Baikal for the first time. These changes are likely to have been driven by a combination of factors, some of them anthropogenic, such as agricultural runoff and changing patterns of seasonal temperatures. The consequences may be hard to predict and control.

Phycologia 57, 298 (2018).

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