Botanical project of ASU received financial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science

15 February 2019 Department of Information and Media Communications
The botanists of Altai State University have won an international grant in the framework of the competition for the best research projects in basic research conducted jointly by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

The ideological inspirer and supervisor of the project entitled “Diversity of lichens in the subalpine and high-mountain belts in the south of the Far East in Russia and Japan: morphological and molecular phylogenetic study” is a senior researcher at the South Siberian Botanical Garden of ASU and the only lichenologist (a botanist studying lichens)in Altai Krai Evgeni A. Davydov.

“The highlands of the Far East of Russia and Japan are a single biogeographic territory rich in lichens, which has actually been studied in parallel since the beginning of the last century by the Russian and Japanese sides. But Russian lichenologists are focused more on European science, so there is a problem of inconsistencies in understanding the same types of lichen. In Russia and Japan, they may have different names, so it is difficult to make an objective picture of the species composition. For example, today in Japan there are more than 250 species of endemics, which may be the result of a different understanding of them by Russian and Japanese scientists. Therefore, one of the first tasks of our project is to come to a common denominator in this matter. Here we will be based on the data of comparative morphological and molecular genetic analysis, thanks to which we will identify and interpret similarities and differences in the lichen flora of subalpine and high-mountainous areas of the south of the Far East of Russia and Japan,” Evgeni A. Davydov explained.

The scientific novelty of this study lies in the fact that the territory of the south of the Russian Far East and Japan will be investigated for the first time as a whole by an international team of scientists, which includes Russian lichenologists from St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Barnaul, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Within the framework of the project, the scientists of the two countries were first tasked with the help of molecular phylogenetic analysis methods to investigate a number of leading families of highland lichens in East Asia. For the first time, the least studied lichens of high mountain areas will also be studied and their functional characteristics, which are responsible for the formation of endemic species, will be analyzed.

“In the first year of the project, we are faced with the task of conducting a field research of the highlands of Sakhalin and Hokkaido, and comparing the results obtained. And in the second year we will explore the highlands of Southern Primorye and the mountains on the island of Honshu. I hope that in two years we will make a general list of alpine lichen species and analyze the characteristics of the genesis of alpine flora. In a word, we have to do quite an interesting and large-scale work,” the scientist of ASU summed up.

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