SRC ''Valaam''
St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists
Scientific Research Centre ''Valaam''
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Field practice in ecology for the students of the Faculty of Ecology and Physics of the Natural Environment (RSHU)

The field practice is held at the Valaam Archipelago since 1998.

The aims of the field practice are to help the students to assimilate theoretical knowledge obtained during courses in ecology and nature management and to acquire field research skills. The practice focuses on aquatic ecosystems.

The main tasks of the practice are:

  • to familiarize the students with the limnogenesis types of Karelian water bodies, using as an example the water system of the Valaam Archipelago;
  • to present to the students the range of natural fluctuations of the limnological parameters within which the normal regime of ecosystem functioning is maintained, using as an example lakes with various degrees of acidification and humification;
  • to demonstrate the connection between the main limnological parameters on the basis of the field materials collected;
  • to inculcate the idea about the lake being a important component of the landscape;
  • to teach the students how to perform ecological certification of water bodies;
  • to cultivate in the students the skills of planning and organisation of field research.

The programme of the practice consists of the following sections: lectures, complex field ecological investigations and laboratory work.

Field investigations comprise the study of morphometric parameters, thermal regime, basic hydrochemical and hydrophysical parameters at 15-25 aquatic stations, the study of phytoplankton, zooplankton, macrophytes, macrozoobenthos and the primary production of plankton at the selected stations. Geobotanical descriptions and studies of microclimate are made in catchment areas.

The results of this work are organised as a scientific report. The report's conclusion contains the assessment of the state of the objects investigated and the proposals for improvement of the environmental situation at the island.

Over the years of the field practice, nine small lakes at Valaam, six bays of Lake Sisyayarvi and four bays at the Ladoga coast of the Archipelago were studied.

A short history of the field practice

For the first three years of its existence, the field practice was conducted on the basis of the hydrometeorological station "Valaam", with active participation of the members of the St. Petersburg Naturalists' Society (SPNS). Later, the practice was transferred to the field base of the SCR "Valaam" of SPNS. At that time, two field laboratories were built and equipped as temporary structures for work in the warm season.

In 2003 the Russian State Hydrometeorological University launched the process of making agreements necessary for the construction of a separate laboratory building for the students' practice and the scientific research. The construction started in the autumn of 2005 but was soon interrupted because of the need for further agreements and the registration of the lease of the forest fund land plot. The work was resumed after a lapse of one year. In the July of 2008, the building was partly put in operation. In the same year, the Educational-Scientific Station of the RSHU was founded.

The Station is an inter-faculty division, attached to the Department of Applied Ecology. The main tasks of the Station are:

  • the organisation of field practice of the University students;
  • the organisation of material collection for students' papers, Master theses and PhD theses;
  • the monitoring of the coastal zone and the small forest lakes of the Valaam Archipelago for the purpose of supplying material for courses in natural sciences;
  • organisation of research of students and post-graduate students;
  • scientific research at the Valaam Archipelago, Lake Ladoga and the northern Ladoga region with participation of students and post-graduate students.

Permanent supervisors of the field practice are Anastasia B. Stepanova (Candidate of Biological Sciences, associate professor of the Department of Applied Ecology of the RSHU) and Ekaterina Yu. Voyakina (Candidate of Biological Sciences, senior researcher of the department of eco-chemical investigations of the St. Petersburg Ecological Safety Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences). A considerable contribution to the organisation of the practice was made by the members of the Department of Applied Ecology: professor V.A. Shelutko (Doctor of Geographical Sciences, Head of the Department), V.G. Gutnichenko (Candidate of Technical Sciences, associate professor), A.V. Babin (junior staff member) and N.V. Zueva (Candidate of Geographical Sciences, junior staff member).

  © SRC "Valaam" of SPSN, 2009-2017, unless otherwise indicated.