Initial Survey of Russian Data Sources

(By Maria Gavrilo, Boris Sirenko ; INSROP Working Paper No. 9 – 1995, II.1)

Russian investigations of biota of the northern seas including algae, invertebrates and fishes, began more than 200 years ago. Among the seas through which the NSR passes, the Kara Sea is studied best of all. The Laptev Sea and the Chukchi Sea are less studied. Flora and fauna of the East-Siberian Sea is investigated least of all due to long distance from the western ports and the heavy ice conditions at the Long Strait. The water bodies of each sea are also studied unevenly in terms of hydrobiology

The state of knowledge on biota along the Northern Sea Route area is considered within the work on the INSROP project II.1. A references database of Russian sources dealing with this biota was created. It numbers 963 references. The publications on different groups of plants and animals were analysed and annotated separately. All references are supported by 3 types of keywords including taxa, geography and problems discussed. A list of 36 references for general geographical and biological publications was created. A list of botanical publications concerning both coastal and marine flora numbers 57 references. A list of hydrobiological publications including works on invertebrates and protozoon consists of 297 items. For vertebrates (fishes, marine birds and mammals) 562 publications were found and annotated. All references are available both in the form of the list (Annex 5) and database (see description in the Annex 4). Published works can be found in different Russian libraries (see Annex 3).

An overview both of materials kept in different Russian institutions and ongoing and planned projects is given in the report. It contains information about the volume and quality of materials including reliability, availability, studied objects , covered area etc. as well as contact persons and addresses.

The analysis of published data on biota along the NSR area and corresponding material existing in different Russian institutions suggests that the main problems facing Arctic research are as follows:

  • uneven information support within the Arctic region, background data are absent for some regions;
  • dissimilar data format derived from different extent of primary data treatment. As a rule only published data are fully available. Unpublished primary data kept in archives, unexamined collections, daybooks, databases will become available only after treatment by their possessors;
  • most ongoing projects are studies not concerning the INSROP needs and combined they will not close all gaps in the knowledge.

The understanding of annual cycles of hydrobios, trophic relations and other aspects of ecosystem functioning is limited. Only few works deal with the assessment of the ecological situation in the local regions of high anthropogenic activity.

There are no data about possible effects of pollution on all mentioned species within the area considered. I.a. there is not sufficient information about biology and ecology to accurately assess the anthropogenic influence upon sea mammals.

Our preliminary analysis suggests the existing material to be useful for a general description of the ecological state of all seas along the NSR.

All this knowledge as well as the experience of experts involved in this study enabled the execution of an analysis of the deficiencies and a substantiation of the necessity of a special expedition.

Key words: Arctic ecology, literature, state of knowledge, Northern Sea Route (NSR) area, collection, distribution, biota, plankton, benthos, fishes, marine birds, marine mammals.


    Maria Gavrilo, Boris Sirenko, 1995, Initial Survey of Russian Data Sources, INSROP.©

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