Plant and animal life

According to Limnological institute of the Siberian office of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2 630 types and kinds of plants and animals, 2/3 which are endemics live in Baikal, that is live only in this reservoir. Such abundance of live organisms is explained by high content of oxygen in all thickness of the Baikal water.

The crustacean of an epishur — an endemic of Baikal — makes up to 80% of biomass of zooplankton of the lake and is the major link in a food chain of a reservoir. He carries out function of the filter: passes through itself water, purifying it.

Viviparous fish a golomyanka which body contains up to 30% of fat is most interesting in Baikal. She surprises biologists with daily fodder migrations from depths on shoal. From fishes the omul, a grayling, a whitefish, a sturgeon, a burbot, a taimen, a pike and others are found in Baikal. Baikal is unique among lakes the fact that deeply fresh-water sponges grow here.

The only mammal of the lake the Baikal seal (Latin Pusa sibirica) — one of three fresh-water species of a seal in the world, an endemic of Lake Baikal, a relict of tertiary fauna. Weight is from 50 to 130 kg, a female on weight there are more males. Live till 55 years.

According to fishermen, the seal snared at a depth up to 200 m, but, as a rule, she dives on much smaller depths. The seal finds a forage in well lit zone (25 — 30 m) and her, apparently, there is no need to dive deeply. The seal is capable to plunge to 400 m, and maintains pressure of 21 atm. (In a big aquarium) when she was held under water, the seal was in experimental conditions there till 65 min. (record duration). In the nature she is under water about 20−25 min. — it to her enough to get food or to leave from danger.

Settling of the coast of the lake

According to the locals who are written down in the 1930th years till the XII—XIII centuries Cis-Baikal inhabited the barguta people. They from the West were succeeded by Buryats who began to occupy actively at first the western coast of the lake, and then Transbaikalia. The first Russian settlements on the bank of Baikal have appeared at the end of XVII — the beginning of the 18th century. Cossack Kurbat Ivanov became the first Russian opener of Baikal.