Arctic floating university explored Sopochnaya Karga сape in Taimyr

Arctic floating university explored Sopochnaya Karga сape in Taimyr

August 01, 2023

Scientists have collected samples from the sands to study ancient Arctic microorganisms and their DNA.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The Arctic Floating University (AFU) expedition members disembarked from the research expedition ship Mikhail Somov and for the first time conducted comprehensive research at cape Sopochnaya Karga of the Taimyr peninsula, where the polar station of the same name is located.

Geologists, geomorphologists, microbiologists and other AFU specialists worked at the cape. In 2012, near the cape, they found the carcass of an adult mammoth, known as the Sopkarginsky mammoth and unofficially named Zhenya – in honor of the teenager who found it. Here, the expedition members took samples from the sands, which will be sent to the scientific laboratories of the North-Western State Medical University named after I.I. Mechnikov and the Institute of Experimental Medicine to study ancient microorganisms, as well as their DNA.

“It is expected that these studies will expand our understanding of the microorganisms that inhabited the Arctic coasts during the Pleistocene period, and better understand the evolutionary paths of modern bacteria, including those related to species important for medicine and biotechnology”, TASS quotes Artemy Goncharov, the Experimental Medicine Institute’s Functional Genomics and Proteomics of Microorganisms laboratory head.

According to experts, against the backdrop of global climate change, the Arctic is becoming one of the key regions where it is necessary to study the diversity and population structure of pathogenic microorganisms. This is important in connection with the possibility of long-term (up to tens of thousands of years) preservation of microorganisms and their DNA under cryogenic conditions.

Also, the All-Russian Geological Research Institute named after A.P. Karpinsky (VSEGEI) geologists examined the coastal cliffs of the Yenisey bay and fresh thermal cirques – landforms formed by the melting of underground ice – to the north of the Sopochnaya Karga polar station. There is an ice layer here. According to various researchers – glacial or marine origin.

Further, Mikhail Somov headed for Vilkitsky island, which is located in the southern part of the Kara sea between the mouths of the Ob and Yenisey, where scientists carried out work at an automatic weather station.

Specialists from Norilsk also participated in the expedition of the Arctic floating university, covering five thousand kilometers in the northern seas. At Cape Zhelaniya, ornithologists have discovered a new colony of kittiwakes: the most studied bird in the Arctic continues to surprise researchers. In addition, the AFU expedition members explained the disappearance of the Yenisey and Ob freshwater streams in winter: the two largest Russian rivers “dissolve” into the Kara and Laptev seas after entering the ocean.

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Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Denis Kozhevnikov

August 01, 2023

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