200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 11: “The Academy in the Field ”

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photo of Lake Hovsgol in Mongolia
Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia, as seen from the eastern shore

The Academy in the Field

When he first set eyes on Lake Hovsgol during the summer of 1994, Clyde Goulden knew it was special. Also known as Hövsgöl Nuur, Lake Hovsgol is located near Mongolia's northern border with Russia. It's nearly 85 miles long, more than 800 feet deep, and among the oldest lakes in the world. It's also remarkably pristine. One could drink freely from its waters and see fish swimming 30 feet below its surface. Locals refer to it as the “blue pearl.”

Clyde, an aquatic ecologist at the Academy's Patrick Center for Environmental Research, had spent decades studying lakes. He realized immediately that Hovsgol offered a unique opportunity to study an unspoiled environment. In 1995, Clyde led Academy and Mongolian scientists and other experts to study the lake's biodiversity and limnology. That same year, the Academy of Natural Sciences founded The Institute of Mongolian Biodiversity and Ecological Studies (which eventually became the present-day Asia Center) to support research at the lake.

Academy scientists are hard at work studying climate change and working to overcome environmental challenges in Mongolia. Learn more about their work at asia.ansp.org.

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