Altai biological diversity research offers good prospects to young scientists of ASU

20 November 2015 Faculty of Biology

Faculty of Biology postgraduate student Alexander Fomichev was undertaking the internship from October 25 to November 12 in the University of Turku Zoology Museum (Finland). The purpose of the visit was to carry on the research in the framework of the project on studying the spiders of the Palearctic ecozone, which is being conducted in cooperation with Doctor of Biology, Professor Yu.M. Marusik (Institute of Biological Problems of the North, Magadan) and honorary curator of Arachnidas collection of the University of Turku Zoology Museum Seppo Koponen.

In the course of the work Alexander was proceeding the materials of museum’s funds, as well as his own ones that he collected during his expedition to Altai and Western Mongolia in 2014 and 2015. In his work he touched upon such spiders as Eutichuridae, Gnaphosidae, Lycosidae, Salticidae, Tetragnathidae and Theridiidae. The geography of the research was broad as well: the materials from Germany, Finland, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia (China), different regions of Siberia and Far East (Altai, Tuva, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Chita and Magadan Regions, Chukotka), Japan and Alaska were used. Some materials were kindly provided by Budapest Natural History Museum (Hungary) and Museum of the North of the University of Alaska (Fairbanks, Alaska).

The description of several new Arachnida species was prepared, interesting faunistic findings were discovered, new synonyms were set. Currently, the revision of two complex, understudied genera is being prepared.

During the internship in Zoology Museum not only museum’s Arachnida collections were used, but also its powerful technical resources: Zeiss stereomicroscopes fitted out with photo cameras; scanning electronic microscope; ultrasound baths; etc. The materials for mitochondrial DNA research were partly provided by Vahtera Varpu from Laboratory of Molecular Systematics of the University of Turku. The research results will be published in journals listed in Scopus and Web of Science.

Postgraduate student’s scientific supervisor Doctor of Biology Roman V. Yakovlev comments from Brussels (the Royal Museum for Central Africa):

“It is worth noting, that Alexander has taken part in the internship at the University of Turku for the third time already and he has an arrangement with Seppo Koponen for the next year. An important outcome of these visits is the extending of scientific experience and improving of the student’s research skills in the course of communication and joint work with the senior colleagues, who tend to be the world’s leading specialists in Arachnida systematics. Interestingly, Alexander planned the internship and found the source of external financing all by himself. He is only a 1st year postgraduate student, but he has already published 7 articles in journals listed in Scopus, and 6 – listed in Web of Science (all of them are in English). Thanks to integration of the promising young specialist, who attained his Bachelor’s Degree in Novosibirsk, into ASU academic staff, we have substantially strengthened our potential in terms of complex research of the Great Altai biodiversity.”

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