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On July 21, the sixth season of the expedition "Floating University of the Volga Basin" started in Nizhny Novgorod. The opening ceremony was held at the office building of the Volga Shipping Company.

The project has been running for six years. It was created and developed at the initiative of the Volga State University of Water Transport with the participation of the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences under the auspices of the Russian Geographical Society. From the very beginning, researchers from the Department of Ecology of the Institute of Biology and Biomedicine of Lobachevsky University have been among the key project participants. Over the years, the unique expedition has brought together scientists not only from Nizhny Novgorod, but also from other Russian cities. Today, along with the researchers from the Volga State University of Water Transport and Lobachevsky University, permanent participants include representatives of the Minin University, Lomonosov Moscow State University and Kazan Federal University. It is important to note that the members of the project team are mostly early-career scientists: ecologists, hydrobiologists, physicists, chemists.

This year, "Floating University" researchers on board the "Petr Adrianov" boat will work on the Cheboksary, Gorky, Kuibyshev reservoirs and their tributaries: Oka, Kerzhenets, Sura, Vetluga, Kazanka, Kama and other rivers. Conservation of biodiversity is one of the objectives of the national project "Ecology". It cannot be achieved without monitoring the sustainability and stability of ecosystems. The expedition fulfils this mission on the water bodies of the Volga basin. In particular, UNN scientists have been recording the appearance of rare and alien (including tropical) species in zooplankton for several years. This alarming phenomenon is predicted to increase.

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At the opening ceremony of the new season, Dr. Galina Shurganova, the scientific adviser of the research group of Lobachevsky University ecologists, received acknowledgements from the Volga State University of Water Transport and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Nizhny Novgorod region for significant contribution to environment protection, development of ecological education, popularization of ecological knowledge and important scientific achievements.

Galina Shurganova, Professor of the Department of Ecology of the UNN Institute of Biology and Biomedicine: "Our postgraduate students collect quality material in these expeditions, and three PhD theses have already been defended using the data gathered over five years. Two more dissertations are being prepared for defence. It is a very good result. It speaks to the importance of this expedition in shaping our young scientists and developing them as confident researchers".

In 2021, the "Floating University of the Volga Basin" project received grant support from the Russian Geographical Society for the fifth time. In April 2021, the results of the expeditions of the previous years were highly appreciated by President Vladimir Putin. At the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society, the President pointed out the "Floating University of the Volga Basin" project as one of the priority initiatives of the Russian Geographical Society.