Class@Baikal: the Endurance of the UNESCO Training-Through-Research Programme

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Adriano Mazzini1, Grigorii Akhmanov2, Oleg Khlystov3, Mikhail Tokarev2, Dmitry Vyacheslavovich Korost2, Jeffrey Poort4, Anastasia Fokina2, Dina Rinatovna Giliazetdinova2, Anna Yurchenko2 and Stepan Vodopyanov2, (1)University of Oslo, CEED, Oslo, Norway, (2)Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, (3)Limnological Institute SB RAS, Irkutsk, Russia, (4)Univ Paris 06 CNRS UMR7193, Sorbonne Univ. ISTEP, Paris, France
In July 2014, by the initiative of the Moscow State University and Limnological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, the first Training-through-Research Class@Baikal was launched in Lake Baikal, Russia. The cruise program focused on seafloor sampling and acoustic investigations of gas seeps, flares, mud volcanoes, slumps and debris flows, canyons and channels in the coastal proximity.

A comprehensive multidisciplinary program to train students has been developed to cover sedimentology, fluid geochemistry, biology, geophysics and marine geology in general. Daily lectures were conducted on board by academics presenting pertinent research projects, and cruise planning and preliminary results were discussed with all the scientific crew.

A daily blog with updates on the expedition activities, images, and ongoing cruise results, was also completed (i.e. visit the cruise blog: http://baikal.festivalnauki.ru/) and gave the opportunity to interact with experts as well as attract the interest also of a broader audience.

This project is a follow up to the well-established UNESCO Training-through-Research (TTR) Floating University Programme (http://floatinguniversity.ru/) that covered large areas on the European and arctic margins since 1991 with 18 research cruises attended by about 1000 BSc, MSc and PhD students from Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The crucial goal of both programmes is the training of new generations of scientists through active research directly on the field. Students can access the collected data and samples for their Master and PhD projects. Typically an extensive set of analyses and data processing is completed in-house and the results and interpretations are presented at post cruise meetings and international conferences.

The Baikal lake is 25 million years old rift zone and provides a large variety of active geological features that can be easily reached at daily sailing distance. This represents an extraordinary opportunity to switch and focus on different disciplines and processes. We envisage extending the duration of the following expeditions completing several crew changes in order to broaden the international cooperation.