1.Mongolia / 2. Biodiversity/Bioassessment / 3. Crane Flies / 4. Lake Hovsgol Research

Results from Prior National Science Foundation Support

A. INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS #9504867, U.S.-Mongolia Cooperative Research: Systematic and Ecological Research in Northern Mongolia, $219,995, 1995-1998. Clyde E. Goulden, Jon K. Gelhaus, Co. P.I's.

This project concentrated on biodiversity studies of pristine Lake Hovsgol, a presumed ancient lake in the same rift system as the world’s oldest lake, Lake Baikal. During the summers of 1995 to 1997, scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANSP) coordinated with those from other institutions (Clemson University, University of Kansas, University of Michigan, and students from Drexel University and Colorado State University) on three expeditions to Lake Hovsgol in northern Mongolia. We collaborated with scientists and students from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the National University of Mongolia. Six scientists from Irkutsk University in Russia also collaborated in the lake research at the northern end of the Lake. In 1995, we collected and studied benthic communities at a range of depths (5 to 250 meters depth) across ten horizontal transects from the northern to the southern part of the basin. In 1996 and 1997, two teams studied benthic communities of inlet bays and of over forty tributary streams around the Lake. Among insects, numerous new species of Diptera (true flies) and Trichoptera (caddisflies) have been described from this effort. In addition, new species of diatoms, gastropods and amphipods have been described.

Several publications, including papers from American, Mongolian, and Russian colleagues have now been published: Baatar et al. 1997, Gelhaus et al. 2000; Goulden et al. 2000; Morse 1999; Podenas and Gelhaus, 2000. Others are now accepted for publication: Gelhaus and Podenas (Tipuloidea); Podenas and Gelhaus (Limoniidae); Goulden et al. (General Overview); Goulden et al. (Geology/Geography); Hayford and Ferrington (Chironomidae); Namhaidorj (Coleoptera); Safronov (Amphipoda); Sitnikova (Mollusca).

Our program trained two students who participated in the field studies and visited Philadelphia to study several months at ANSP. Ms. Soninkhushig Nerqui, National University of Mongolia, studied diatoms systematics and ecology at the Academy with Dr. Ruth Patrick and with Dr. Gene Stoermer of the University of Michigan. She is currently teaching at the National University. During his two visits to ANSP, Mr. Bazartseren Boldgiv, National University of Mongolia, studied both zooplankton ecology and the molecular systematics of the grayling fish species of Hovsgol. He has now completed a master's degree program in wildlife biology at Cornell University and has entered the Ph.D. program in Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Six other undergraduate Mongolian students from the National University of Mongolia participated in the fieldwork in 1997. Six American students participated in our expeditions, with three subsequently completing master's degrees. One, Barbara Hayford, completed her doctorate in entomology in 1998 at the University of Kansas, and two others, Aysha Prather and Jason Knouft are nearing completion of Ph.D.s in entomology at the University of Minnesota, and ichthyology at the University of Illinois, respectively.


Project collaborators included 20 Ph.D. scientists from a range of U.S. and Mongolian institutions and from the Limnological Institute, Irkutsk, Russia. Eight American and U.S. graduate students participated as well. A full listing of collaborators and their subject areas can be found at the web site for ANSP at http://www.acnatsci.org/research/mongolia/

During the grant period, the PI’s developed the Institute for Mongolian Biodiversity and Ecological Studies at ANSP. Institute activities have included sponsoring and facilitating the U.S. visits of the Mongolian Speaker of the Hural (Parliament) and Minister of Infrastructure, and visits by key Mongolian scientists to NSF-LTER sites across the United States. Cooperative agreements were signed between the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the National University of Mongolia with the Academy of Natural Sciences. In addition, Dr. Goulden and ANSP have been instrumental in securing an increase in US-AID support for Mongolia, which has gone for developing the infrastructure of the National Park system. Dr. Cully Hession, while at ANSP, developed a GIS system for Lake Hovsgol and Mongolia to support the above research and other projects.


An internet site summarizing the research and collaborators, along with the activities of the IMBES can be found at http://www.acnatsci.org/research/mongolia/ and research resources including species and locality lists at http://www.acnatsci.org/~gelhaus/. A volume of 20 papers summarizing the research on Lake Hovsgol, The Geology, Biodiversity and Ecology of Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia, will be published in 2002 by Backhuys Publ.; editors are C. Goulden, T. Sitnikova, J. Gelhaus, and B. Boldgiv.

B. INT #9636131 Planning Visit to Study Freshwater Insects of the Lake Hovsgol Region in Northern Mongolia, $15,000, 1996-1997, John Morse, P.I.

The PI and two students (an entomologist Aysha Prather and a fisheries biologist Jason Knouft) joined Dr. Clyde Goulden and Dr. Jon Gelhaus of ANSP of Philadelphia and their assistants in a planning visit to the region during June 1996, at the invitation of the Mongolian Academy of Science and with the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation. The expedition was coordinated with officials in Ulaanbaatar (including Dr. Baatar, Dr. Namhaidorj and Dr. Dulmaa of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Dr. Ulykpan of the National University of Mongolia), confirming the collection and research management details and exploring ideas for long-term research and aquatic entomology training in the National University of Mongolia.

(1) At least 50 species of Trichoptera were captured at 34 locations around Lake Hovsgol. Six were reported from Lake Hovsgol previously by Erbaeva et al. (1977), with the remainder (88%) new records for the Hovsgol basin. In addition, 10 species represent the first records for the entire country of Mongolia. Four species are undescribed, with one, a remarkable flightless species from the Lake subsequently described (Morse 1999). These results were reported at the 9th International Symposium on Trichoptera in Chiangmai, Thailand, 5-10 January 1998. An additional specimen from the Selenge River may represent a new genus based on the wing venation of the single male specimen.
(2) All fish specimens have been identified and deposited at ANSP. A total of 7 species were captured and identified.
(3) An invitation was received by the PI from the Mongolian National University, Professor K. Ulykpan, Chairman of the Ecology program, to teach a month-long workshop regarding the identification of Mongolian aquatic insects and their use in monitoring water quality. This course was held in the summer of 1998 and trained 6 students. Five of these six students are now or are becoming aquatic entomologists: Two are pursuing graduate degrees in Mongolia and another is pursuing her MS degree in the U.S.A. regarding aquatic insects; two others are employed as the only hydrobiologists of the Mongolian Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology, responsible for monitoring water quality nationally.
(4) An invitation was received by the PI from State Pedagogical University of Mongolia, Professor Kh. Monkhbayar, Chairman of the Biology Department, to teach a two-week course on the same subject. This course, supported by the Conservation, Food, & Health Foundation, was held in the summer of 2001 and trained 10 students. At the end of that course, nine of the ten students declared that they want now to pursue careers in benthic biology and aquatic entomology, each of them indicating specific, preferred taxonomic and ecological specialties.
(5) There is now a fledgling Mongolian Benthological Society, composed primarily of the graduates of these two courses.

1.Mongolia / 2. Biodiversity/Bioassessment / 3. Crane Flies / 4. Lake Hovsgol Research