Scientists from AltSU returned from a business trip to Uzbekistan with extensive entomological materials

20 May 2022 Department of Information and Media Communications

A team of scientists from the Institute of Biology and Biotechnology led by Professor of the Department of Ecology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology Roman Yakovlev returned from an expedition to Uzbekistan. For three weeks, specialists worked on collecting entomological material on the territory of Eastern Uzbekistan to replenish the university's collection, and also established cooperation with colleagues from Samarkand State University.

The expedition to Uzbekistan was organized within the framework of two projects “Cossoid Lepidoptera (Lepidoptera, Cossoidea) of the tribe Endagriini Duponchel, 1844 of the world fauna: systematics, phylogeny and evolution of the group” of the Russian Science Foundation and “Type specimens of carpenter borers of the world fauna: fundamental answers to the requests of forest entomology” of the Priority 2030 program.

The team also included two young employees, former graduate students of Altai State University, who are now completing their dissertations for seeking a candidate of sciences degree, an assistant of the Department of Zoology and Physiology Alexander Fomichev and a senior lecturer of the same department Yuri Dyachkov.

“It was our first visit to Uzbekistan. It is one of the least studied territories of Central Asia in terms of biodiversity. The expedition turned out to be very fruitful despite the difficulties. We worked within a radius of 250-300 km from Samarkand in different directions. We started from the area of the city of Termez, from the southernmost region on the border with Afghanistan. When we took off from Barnaul, the air temperature in the morning was -6 °C, on the spot we worked at +40 °C. We visited the border with Tajikistan - the Babatag mountains, the border with Turkmenistan - the Kuginang ridge, the Kyzylkum desert on the border with Kazakhstan. The weather wasn’t always good. It poured heavily for several days, it led to serious landslides in the mountains, as a result of mudflows, about 10 people died. The mountain roads turned out to be partially blocked, so it became impossible to visit several points we had planned. I had to quickly change the route and go to a lower, flat zone,” said Roman Yakovlev, the leader of the expedition.

The collection of carpenter butterflies for further molecular genetic study was the main goal of the expedition. In addition, scientists managed to collect a large number of curious specimens of spiders, centipedes, rare species of scorpions for these parts, and other representatives of the fauna of Uzbekistan. Besides, scientists conducted observations on representatives of rare reptiles. For example, they met and photographed an echis, a rare species of snakes from the Red Book, the most dangerous snake of the former Soviet Union.

“Our expedition was accompanied by an employee of Samarkand State University, an entomologist Muhammadtuychi Rakhimov, a very competent, widely erudite specialist. In general, this trip made it possible to strengthen cooperation between our universities. Thanks to Roman Raikin, Vice-Rector for International Affairs Development of Altai State University, and Mukhtor Nasyrov, an international colleague from Samarkand, who helped us organize this trip. I held an open lecture for students, where I spoke about Altai State University, our programs and opportunities. Four young people expressed a desire to come to study for a master's degree in ecology and biotechnology. I hope that we will be useful for our colleagues from Uzbekistan in terms of exchanging experience and conducting joint work. I am sure that we will continue this work. For a long time I have been looking for some little-studied territory for myself, where I could work for a long time and with a goal in mind. I think for the next few years I have found it. Uzbekistan has very friendly, hospitable, benevolent people. And also a long season, which is important for our work. Expeditions can be organized from mid-February to November,” emphasized Roman Yakovlev.

Now scientists have to process the collected material and form a collection. As a result of the expedition, it is planned to publish a series of scientific articles.

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