Biology, Vol. 10, Pages 972: Amazing Discoveries of Benthic Fauna from the Abyssal Zone of Lake Baikal
Biology doi: 10.3390/biology10100972
Lake Baikal is a natural laboratory for the study of species diversity and evolution, as a unique freshwater ecosystem meeting the all of the main criteria of the World Heritage Convention. However, despite many years of research, the true biodiversity of the lake is clearly insufficiently studied, especially that of deep-water benthic sessile organisms. For the first time, plastic waste was raised from depths of 110 to 190 m of Lake Baikal. The aim of this study was to examine the biological community inhabiting the plastic substrate using morphological and molecular genetic analysis. Fragments of plastic packaging materials were densely populated: bryozoans, leeches and their cocoons, capsules of gastropod eggs, and turbellaria cocoons were found. All the data obtained as a result of an analysis of the nucleotide sequences of the standard bar-coding fragment of the mitochondrial genome turned out to be unique. Our results demonstrate the prospects for conducting comprehensive studies of artificial substrates to determine the true biodiversity of benthos in the abyssal zone of Lake Baikal.
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