International School on Marine, Freshwater and Coastal Ecosystems (ISMFCE)

International School on Marine, Freshwater and Coastal Ecosystems (Russia)
Starts: 05/22/2018 5:00PM
Ends: 06/11/2018 3:00PM
Location: Zvenigorod Biological Station, Odintsovsky District, Moscow Region, Russia
Location: White Sea Biological Station, Loukhsky District, Republic of Karelia, Russia

International School on Marine, Freshwater and Coastal Ecosystems will be held May 22 to June 11 at the two major Biological Stations of Lomonosov Moscow State University:

  • Zvenigorod Biological Stations (Central Russia)
  • White Sea Biological Station (Arctic Russia).

DSC01751 It is well known that aquatic ecosystems are some of the most productive ecological systems on Earth and are recognized to be of extremely high “value” to human society. At the same time, they are being threatened by anthropogenic pressure and climate change far greater than terrestrial ecosystems because of multiple and interacting factors. That is why an integrated knowledge on the diversity of aquatic ecosystems and on the principles of their functioning is critical for someone who is interested in ecology and biodiversity.

DSC01728Our school is supervised by MSU academics that conduct active research in their respective fields of biology. We provide students with a unique possibility to study wide range of freshwater, transitional and marine ecosystems with the focus on their comparative analysis. We would demonstrate the importance and relevance of ecosystems approach to the modern ecology and nature management.

fresh water_murmansk regThe school curriculum shall include field excursions, lab activities, lectures and seminars. Students will study methods of biotope description, sampling, identification of samples to the level of species, and biological drawing.

At ZBS, students shall study ecology and biodiversity of the whole range of freshwater-bodies, from temporary ponds to the Moskva River. Students will be able to compare freshwater ecosystems of the Central Russia (ZBS) to ecosystems of the Arctic area (WSBS). The coastal area of WSBS represents mosaic of different biotopes, including water-bodies separated from the sea (meromictic lakes) and estuaries. Students shall study ecology and biodiversity of the intertidal and subtidal zones, sea bottom and water column. They will collect, draw and identify representatives of phyto- and zooplancton, macro- and meiobenthos. They will reconstruct the trophic chains and networks of aquatic ecosystems using the Ecopath software, which allows to:

  • SONY DSCaddress the questions of fundamental ecological science;
  • analyze and evaluate ecosystem effects of human activity;
  • model effect of environmental changes.

By the end of the course, students shall gain insight into complexity and dynamics of aquatic ecosystems on the basis of best available scientific knowledge.

Students shall also be encouraged to perform scientific reports, which will be finally presented at the workshop scheduled for the last day of the School.


Zvenigorod Biological Station is located in Odintsovsky District of Moscow Region. ZBS is only 20 minutes by car from the nearest ancient Russian town of Zvenigorod and in approximately two hours drive from the Moscow city. The campus of the Biostation is on the bank of the Moskva-river, and several hundreds of hectares of forest belonging to the University adjoin it.

The White Sea Biological Station is located on the coast of Kandalaksha Gulf of the White Sea, close to the Polar Circle (literally 20 minutes walk from it). This station is an isolated settlement. There is no regular road, and all communication to the nearest village and railway station Poyakonda (15 km) is possible only by boat during summer navigation, and by snowmobiles in winter. Poyakonda is connected to major cities by train: 21 hours from St. Petersburg (about 1000 km), 30-32 hours from Moscow (about 1600 km), and 8 hours from Murmansk (350 km).

Both Stations are completely equipped to provide whole range of scientific activities, from the “pure” descriptive zoology and botany, to molecular and genomic studies.

Housing and meals

At both biostations, students live in electrically heated wooden dorms. Three hot meals per day plus five o’clock tea shall be offered at both stations.


If you need a visa to enter Russia, please take care of getting the correct type. Please contact us so that we assist and issue the appropriate formal invitation according to legal procedures in force in Russia. The whole procedure will take some time, so we require that we have a copy of your passport before May 25, 2016. Please contact us for further details.

Visiting the White Sea Biological Station region without the invitation from Lomonosov Moscow State University is prohibited.

Plan of the School

The capacity of the School is only 20 students. We’ll have to split all students into two groups, ‘A’ and ‘B’. Group A shall start the School by going to WSBS, then it will return to ZBS. Group B shall do the same in a mirror way: forst visit ZBS, and then go to WSBS. Both groups shall meet twice: at WSBS for a few hours, and at ZBS for the closing seminar.

Students shall go to WSBS and back by train, and the will get to ZBS by bus. Further details shall be made available later. Both groups shall always be accompanied by LMSU group leaders.

It is possible to come to only one part of the School, and then it will be ZBS part. It is not possible to come to WSBS part only, we are sorry.

Students are expected to arrive to Moscow before May 22, 5:00PM. Latecomers most likely shall go to the Group B.


Please contact us and apply at