Naroch Biological Station named after G.G. Vinberg
The scientific and research centre “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” of the Belarusian State University is the oldest biological station in Belarus. For many years it is the place where profound research on the functioning processes and biological productivity of the waterbodies is conducted. The results of these investigations acquire wide recognition of the scientists in hydrobiology all over the world. The materials of long-term investigations of the polytypic Naroch Lakes serve nowadays as a basis for working out measures on rational use and preservation of the unique Naroch Lake environment.
Address: 8, Naberezhnaja str., Naroch, Myadel district, Minsk region, 222395, Republic of Belarus
Telephone: +375 (01797) 49360
Fax: +375 (01797) 49335
E-mail: narochbio.bsu.by, zhukovatut.by
Web page: http://bio.bsu.by/naroch/
At the root of Naroch biological station (NBS) there are two outstanding Soviet hydrobiologists - members of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Lev Alexandrovich Zenkevich (1889-1970) and Georgy Georgievich Vinberg (1905-1987).
The Biostation was created in 1946 on the initiative of the professor of Moscow State University L. А. Zenkevich, who was in 1939-1946 the head of the Invertebrate Zoology Department at the Belarusian State University. He suggested to found the first biological station in Belarus at Lake Naroch shore, where until 1939 existed the Biological Station of the Warsaw University.
In spring 1946 the research assistants of the biological faculty S. V. Kalishevich and М. М. Drako together with the pro-rector of the Belarusian State University А. P. Butkevich determined the place for the Biostation on the northern shore of the Naroch Lake (today it is the area of Urliki beach). Thanks to the assistance of local administration in the same year the petition of the University was complied and the Biostation got the territory of 10 ha at the lakeside. At the same time a small wooden house situated near the lake was donated to the University. On that building the signboard “Biological Station of the Belarusian State University” was fixed.
In summer 1946 at NBS the first reconnaissance expedition with students participation was organized.
Further formation, development and outstanding scientific attainments, that made NBS world-wide famous, are inseparably associated with G. G. Vinberg, who in 1947 became the head of the Invertebrate Zoology Department and worked at the Belarusian State University for 20 years.
In 1947-1948 on the basis of NBS comprehensive expeditions on the Naroch and Braslav Lakes were carried out, as well as permanent hydrobiological observations on the Lakes Naroch, Miastro, Batorino and experimental work on a wide range of problems of the biotic cycle in lake ecosystems.
The Belarusian State University focused the attention on the organization of intense educational practice of students-biologists. In the hard times of the first post-war years NBS functioned as a permanent establishment providing zoological and botanical practice for students, carrying-out the experimental work for term papers and degree theses, conducting the research work.
In the next years NBS gradually enlarged with the increase of students quantity, the expand of the scientific work. Till late 1950s there were built several wooden houses, where educational and research laboratories as well as zoology museum (moved to Naroch forestry afterwards) and students hostel were situated. When students practice was completed the places in the hostel were in the disposal of university members for work or rest.
From 1962 till 1987 on the territory of NBS summer international student camp existed.
In 1960s the intensive recreational development of the Naroch region took place. It became evident that the old wooden buildings of NBS and the summer camp do not conform to the aesthetic and sanitary requirements of the recreation zone. According to the BSSR Council of Ministers resolution № 325 of October 9, 1981 NBS together with other buildings that didn’t meet the demands of the recreation zone should be demolished. There was a necessity to construct a new modern laboratory building. In 1990 the project of the new building of NBS was designed. The new NBS according to the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus Presidium resolution № 1877-XII of October 15, 1992 was supposed to be situated in a small area (0,7 ha) near the “Belaya Rus” sanatorium beach. The house-building was completed in 2002 and since that time NBS started the new period of its existence (see the chapter “The present”).
The first technical assistant combining the functions of the director, assistant manager, watchman and worker was Ivan Semyonovich Devyatnikov. The first official director of NBS (in 1948-1961) became Polina Samoilovna Nevyadomskaya, who did her best to provide the favorable conditions for the research work and for student practice in the first and very hard years.
The two workers of the biological faculty of the Belarusian State University - Pavel Grigorievich Petrovich and Michail Michailovich Drako - were of considerable assistance at NBS. Both became outstanding hydrobiologists afterwards. P. G. Petrovich (1909-2002) started his work at the University in 1946. He was a Dean of the Biological Faculty in 1953-1972, and the Head of the Invertebrate Zoology Department in 1967-1974, then he worked as an assistant professor at the Ecology Department of the Biological Faculty until he retired in 1984. М. М. Drako (1914-1983) after the World War II worked as an assistant, then as an assistant professor at the Invertebrate Zoology Department (until 1979).
After P. S. Nevyadomskaya left the post of Director, NBS was headed by the graduates of the Biologial Faculty of the Belarusian State University: А. I. Sergeyev, I. А. Zhuk, G. P. Shleshinsky, L. P. Kashevarov, А. F. Orlovsky.
In 1977 two scientific assistants of the Research Laboratory of Hydroecology - Tatiana Vasilievna Zhukova and Eduard Pavlovich Zhukov - came to live and work at NBS. From that time the new period of NBS functioning began. Due to their efforts, with the help of motor-mechanic Vladimir Iosifovich Kuntsevich (worked at NBS since 1957), the program of long-term observations on Naroch Lakes was greatly enlarged, and the investigations were carried out all-the-year-round.
NBS has entered the XXI century in cardinally changed state. Instead of several old tumbledown small houses the new multi-storey building with hot and cold water appeared. It includes 14 modern laboratories equipped with fume holds, special laboratory furniture, educational classes, a conference hall, a library and a hostel for 20 places.
The staff of NBS consists of 18 people who do the maintenance work in the building and conduct the educational and methodical work. NBS has got motor and rowboats, a motor vehicle and special hydrobiological equipment. All this opens up new possibilities for carrying out field and experimental research work, providing the educational process and extending the international contacts.
In 2002 NBS has got the status of the Educational and Research Centre and in 2006 it has been named after the outstanding Soviet hydrobiologist, Prof. G. G. Vinberg, who played a key role in NBS formation and development.
The first director of the Educational and Research Centre (ERC) "Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg" became Tatiana Vasilievna Zhukova, who started as a laboratory assistant and raised up to Dr.Sci.Biol.
According to the statute of the ERC it is the base for carrying out students educational and research practices, field and laboratory research work. The research work on NBS is mainly conducted by the Research Laboratory of Hydroecology of Biological Faculty of the Belarusian State University.
The primary objectives of the ERC "Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg" are:
• educational - rendering of assistance in providing the educational process and professional trainings for ecologists and hydrobiologists;
• scientific - carrying out fundamental and applied researches in the fields of biology and ecology;
• environmental protection - providing the scientific assistance in nature-conservative activity of the National park "Narochansky";
• informing - popularization of ecological knowledge.
The basic functions of the ERC "Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg" are:
• to provide students with the educational and research practice;
• to organize carrying out the experimental work for term papers, degree and master's theses, postgraduate studies;
• to assist in the professional training of higher school personnel (performing the experimental work for candidate and doctoral theses);
• to study the regularities of functioning of water and land ecosystems;
• to analyze the mechanisms of water quality formation in order to preserve the natural features of waterbodies and provide the steady use of their resources;
• to conduct the long-term ecological monitoring observations in the Naroch Lakes;
• to study the biological diversity of water and land ecosystems in the Naroch region;
• to develop the international scientific collaboration and to perform the joint researches with the Belarusian and foreign organizations in the fields of ecology and wildlife management;
• to assist in carrying out the research work at the biological faculty and scientific subdivisions of the Belarusian State University and the scientific department of the National park "Narochansky".
• to develop and to apply the science-based recommendations to preserve the natural potential of the Naroch region;
• to render the methodical assistance to the scientific department of the National park "Narochansky" when developing and performing nature protection activities;
• to conduct scientific conferences, meetings and seminars;
• to organize the ecological tourism;
• to popularize the ecological knowledge among the residents and vacationists;
• to render local schools the scientific and methodical assistance in the sphere of ecological education.
The research work in the new building of ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” have received the further development. On the one hand it is connected with the opportunity to conduct the researches at a modern technical level, on the other - with the aggravation of the environmental problems caused by increasing anthropogenous pressure on the Naroch Lakes. The subjects of the researches carried out by joined collective of the Research Laboratory of Hydroecology and the ERC “Naroch biological station named by G. G. Vinberg” are focused as before on decoding of the mechanisms of functioning of lakes ecosystems, the formation of water quality, the biological self-cleansing processes and biological productivity of lakes.
These investigations significantly contributed to the decision of many pressing questions of modern hydroecology. The main guidelines of the research work conducted by the ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” and the Research Laboratory of Hydroecology are:
• trends and character of phytoplankton structure changes during the euthrophication and de-euthrophication of lakes;
• role of seston and detritus in water ecosystem functioning;
• picoplankton in the structure of planktonic communities;
• biodiversity of water communities;
• periphyton and its importance in the functioning of lakes ecosystems;
• ratio of external and internal loading under the euthrophication and de-euthrophication processes in lakes;
• interaction of water layers and bottom sediments in lakes;
• role of biological processes in the sedementation of suspended matter, etc.
The important practical value have the applied documents “Recommendations on preservation of natural potential of the lakes Naroch, Miastro and Batorino” and “Recommendations on the use of ecologically safe methods of Lake Naroch coastal recreational zones preservation from degradation”.
Among a wide spectrum of environmental problems in Naroch region the most critical one in the last years became a problem of the schistosome dermatitis (cercarial dermatitis, swimmer's itch) - that is a disease, caused by penetration of cercaria (larvae of the waterfowl's parasites) into a skin of bathing people. The problem is extremely important for it has serious medical, social and economic consequences for the largest resort in the country. The ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” together with scientists from the Belarusian Academy of Sciences have focused their efforts to solve this problem.
Today the ERC “Naroch biological station named by G. G. Vinberg” continues all-the-year-round regime observations on the lakes Naroch, Miastro, Batorino, so the unique database of long-term hydroecological monitoring rows is constantly replenishes. Since 1999 on the materials of monitoring observations and current research the annual “Bulletin of the ecological state of the lakes Naroch, Miastro, Batorino” is published. The “Bulletin...” reflects the modern state of the Naroch Lakes ecosystem and the tendencies and changes occurring in it.
The ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” is the place where numerous international and regional scientific conferences, meetings and seminars on the actual ecological, biological and regional problems are held. It is necessary to mention here the International conference “Lake ecosystems: biological processes, anthropogenous transformation, water quality” that become traditional and is conducted each four years since 1999. These conference is very popular among hydrobiologists and usually collects participants from all regions of former Soviet Union as well as from other countries.
In July, 1999 on the territory of Naroch region National park "Narochansky" was formed. From the very beginning the ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” closely cooperates with the Scientific Department and the Tourism Department of the National park, the team-work is conducted in the sphere of the ecological education, ecology and nature protection popularization. Annual joint seminars are conducted for operative informing the administration of health resorts and rest houses, school teachers about the current state and the environmental problems of region. There are some common publications, including “The Guidebook on the protected areas” (2003), the set of postcards “The lakes of National park "Narochansky"” (2004), “The Guidebook on National park "Narochansky"” (2005), the booklet “The Blue lakes” (2005), the brochures on a schistosome dermatitis problem.
The ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” is closely contacts with local schools, including the propagation of ecological knowledge, cognitive excursions, consulting and practical help when performing school ecological projects. On the basis of the ERC the hydrobiological section of young ecologists of Belarus and Russia meeting “Ecology without borders” (2006) was held. The ERC help to organize the ecological programs in the National children's camp “Zubryonok”.
At the ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” there is the exhibition of works of the young gifted painter Victoria Ikonnikova, that creates the comfortable and pleasant atmosphere.
The successful many-sided activity of the ERC “Naroch Biological Station named after G. G. Vinberg” in mostly due to the fact that it functions in the system of the University science, allowing to use the potential of numerous faculties and laboratories of different profile. The ERC is a place where the enthusiasm and activity of students and post-graduates, coupled with experience and knowledge of the professors and researches make the favorable conditions for fruitful scientific work.
Trends and results of the investigations conducted at the “old” NBS (till 2002)
The investigations of the water ecosystems functioning conducted at NBS were based on the energy approach elaborated by G. G. Vinberg. These investigations brought world-wide fame to the Belarusian scientists in the field of productional hydrobiology.
Since the very beginning NBS served as a base for numerous expeditions and investigations of the north-western Belarusian lakes, field and laboratory experimental work. For all that time NBS played the leading role in the formation of young specialists-hydrobiologists.
During the expeditions carried out by biologists and geographers in 1947-1948 the first ichthyological, hydrobiological and hydrochemical data of Braslav and Naroch Lakes were received. These materials are of great value until today for they serve as the scientific basis when estimating lakes evolution trends.
At first the main attention of the researchers was concentrated on the studies of plankton primary production in Naroch Lakes, that combine the three lakes (Naroch, Miastro, Batorino) of different throphic state. The investigations included studies of species composition, structure and quantitative parameters of phytoplankton; the intensity of its primary production and organic matter destruction; the dependence of the photosynthetic processes upon the environmental conditions. In the limelight were the methods of the primary production numerical assessment.
As the logical continuation of the primary production research work, the investigations of the heterothrophic part of the production process were carried out. As a result the main methods of estimation of water animals production were based on the data obtained at NBS.
The priority of the Belarusian hydrobiololgists in the productivity investigations was generally recognized by scientific society. That fact predetermined the holding of the All-Union meeting on the methods of estimation of the water animals production at the Belarusian State University in Minsk. The materials of the meeting were summarized in the handbook “Methods of estimation of water animals production” (1968), that was republished in England in 1971. This book serves as a basic handbook for hydrobiologists up to the present.
As a result of long-term investigations on the Naroch Lakes a unique database was created that gave the possible to make conclusions of fundamental importance. Among them:
• The important role of the photosynthetic aeration has been acknowledged. The necessity of its estimation when studying and predicting the self-cleansing capacity of the waterbodies has been proved;
• The role of various groups of water organism in the processes of self-cleansing and water quality formation has been investigated;
• For the first time in the former USSR in the Naroch Lakes the chlorophyll content has been estimated. Today the chlorophyll content is a widely used parameter in hydrobiological investigations;
• New important facts characterizing the role of suspended organic matter in production process and water quality formation;
• The regularities of the detritus (dead organic matter) inclusion in the biotic cycle has been discovered;
• The methods of production processes investigation widely used in hydrobiology have been elaborated.
The productive activity of NBS for many years is mainly due to the favorable location - it is situated at the lakeside of the largest in Belarus and unique Lake Naroch. The three interconnected lakes Naroch, Miastro and Batorino form a single ecosystem that turned to be a very good testing site for fundamental and applied hydroecological research. The lakes are located in the same region, they are subjected to the very similar environmental influence, but owing to morphometric and other differences they have different throphic state and greatly differ in their productivity level (Table). That fact gave an opportunity to decipher the mechanisms of ecosystem functioning in a large range of biological productivity. In this respect NBS took active part in the work of the International Biological Program (IBP) in 1964-1974.
The results of researches on lakes Naroch, Miastro, Batorino take the important place among the works on IBP. Among the five meetings called by freshwater section of Soviet committee on IBP, three, including the last one, were conducted at NBS. As a result Lake Naroch was included in the international list of the reservoirs that are under special protection against pollution and other kinds of anthropogenic influence.
Hydrographic and morphometric parameters of Lake Naroch
(after O. F. Yakushko, 1971)
|Surface area, km2
|Water volume, millions of m3
|Mean depth, m
|Maximal depth, m
|Residence time, years
|Catchment area, km2
|Individual catchment area without the area of lakes, km2
|Specific catchment area
Owing to long-term hydrobiological observations the Naroch Lakes became a well-known example of water ecosystems of different trophic types whose functioning mechanisms are studied well enough.
Among the most important aspects of NBS' activity there were and there are long-term all-the-year-round monitoring observations on the lakes Naroch, Miastro and Batorino. Just a limited number of reservoirs in the world have so prolonged observational series. The monitoring data of the Naroch Lakes undoubtedly represent great scientific and practical value as it is the basis for the reliable analysis of the water ecosystem state and also helps to forecast changes caused by anthropogenous influence. The results of long-term hydrobiological observations form the unique database, allow to track the evolution trends in polytypic lakes under anthropogenic influence and global climatic changes, so that it can be considered as national scientific property of Belarus.
Together with the fundamental hydroecological research at NBS much efforts is put into the applied research work aimed at the water quality improvement in the Naroch Lake and preservation of its unique natural features.
So, as a result, the main ways of nutrients and pollutants input in the lakes have been deciphered and quantitatively estimated. These materials provided a scientific basis for practical actions aimed at the Naroch Lakes protection from eutrophication, that were worked out within the framework of the “Plan of complex use and protection of water and land resources of the Naroch Lake's basin”. Even partial and not always qualitative implementation of this plan has completely confirmed the euthrophication theory and allowed to turn the euthrophication process back.
The important role in the research work at NBS is played by the Research Laboratory of Hydroecology of the Belarusian State University. As a matter of fact this Laboratory and NBS represent a united complex headed by the corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus A. P. Ostapenya. The Research Laboratory of Hydroecology has the direct relation to all fundamental and applied research work at NBS.
The principal brunches of investigations at NBS:
• the ascertainment of seston and detritus role in water ecosystems functioning (Dr.Sci.Biol., Prof. A. P. Ostapenya, Cand.Biol.Sci. А. P. Pavlyutin, Cand.Biol.Sci. G. А. Inkina, research workers: R. А. Derengovskaya, N. V. Dubko, L. V. Nikitina);
• the study of the autothrophic communities in water ecosystems (Dr.Sci.Biol. T. M. Mikheyeva, Cand.Biol.Sci. V. F. Ikonnikov, Cand.Biol.Sci. T. A. Makarevich, research workers: R. Z. Kovalevskaya, E. V. Lukyanova, V. S. Karabanovich);
• the study of the heterothrophic communities in water ecosystems (Dr.Sci.Biol. N. M. Kryuchkova, Cand.Biol.Sci. V. A. Babitskiy, Cand.Biol.Sci. V. H. Rybak, research workers: R. А. Derengovskaya, O. A. Makarevich);
• the study of "water-bottom sediments" interactions (Dr.Sci.Biol. T. V. Zhukova, research worker E. P. Zhukov).
The polytypic Naroch Lakes proved to be a good testing site for the profound hydroecological research. Plenty of outstanding scientists from different countries (Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Lithuania, Poland, the USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Israel) visited NBS and worked there.
NBS has received wide popularity in the scientific circles not only as a base for numerous investigations but as a place where all-Union and international conferences and symposiums on different biological problems were carried out. The conferences organized under the guidance of Prof. G. G. Vinberg (who was the curator of the International biological program in the USSR) were especially popular. These conferences became a true school of thought for different generations of hydrobiologists.
In 1975-1983 the annual All-Union conferences in molecular biology and molecular genetics organized by the microbiologists of the University under the guidance of Prof. Yu. K. Fomitchyov were held at NBS.
Up to 1967 NBS was a place for students educational practice in zoology and botany. Since those years and till now the biostation is the basis for students' course and degree experimental work. Practically all Belarusian hydrobiologists and limnologists began their way into science at NBS. Among the first there were P. G. Petrovich and M. M. Drako which were the initiators of zooplankton and zoobenthos studies in Belarus. One of the presidents of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, a member of Belarusian and Russian Academies of Sciences L. M. Sushchenya grew into a hydrobiologist at NBS.
NBS has played a great role in the professional training of hydrobiologists, among which there are the academicians and corresponding members of Belarusian and Russian Academies of Sciences, doctors and candidates of science. 9 doctor's and about 60 candidate's theses were defended on the experimental material received at NBS. The bibliography of scientific publication on the Naroch Lakes includes over 500 titles.
The Laboratory of Linmology of the Geographical Faculty headed by the honored worker of the Belarusian science, Prof. O. F. Yakushko, contributed significantly to the study of lakes morphometry, sediment composition and macrophytes community.
Almost all hydrobiologits from the Zoology Institute of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences and the Belarusian Research Institute of Fish Industry had their trainings and worked at NBS. Many graduates of NBS work in various hydrobiological establishments in different countries, so NBS is considered to be a scientific school for hydrobiologists.
Page updated: 04.01.2011 19:31