Ekaterina Yu. Afonina, PhD, Researcher of the laboratory of aquatic ecosystems of the Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology of the Siberian Branch of RAS (672014, Russia, Zabaikalsky Krai, Chita, Nedorezova Street, 16a); iD ORCID:; e-mail:
Natalya A. Tashlykova, PhD, Researcher of the laboratory of aquatic ecosystems of the Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology of the Siberian Branch of RAS (672014, Russia, Zabaikalsky Krai, Chita, Nedorezova Street, 16a); iD ORCID:; e-mail:

Reference to article

Afonina E.Yu., Tashlykova N.A. 2021. Torey lakes, Daursky State Nature Biosphere Reserve, Russia: long-term changes in environmental parameters. Nature Conservation Research 6(2).

Section Research articles

This work presents a case study for the lakes Barun-Torey and Zun-Torey, which have been subject to major changes in water level. Both lakes are located in the territory of the Daursky State Nature Biosphere Reserve (arid steppe zone of the Palaearctic region, South-East Transbaikalia, Russia), in the border area with Mongolia. The Torey lakes are large and shallow. A unique feature of the Torey lakes is their unstable hydrological regime. The water level variation is explained by the periodic filling and drying of the lakes due to cyclical climatic changes in humidity and temperature. A brief overview of some hydrological and hydrochemical characteristics of the lakes, using references and unpublished (own) data, is provided. The lakes have been studied for a number of years, which have been provisionally divided into some periods. There are three periods for Lake Zun-Torey: high (1999 and 2003), intermediate (2007, 2011) and low (2014 and 2016) lake levels, and two periods for Barun-Torey: high water level (1999 and 2003) and the initial filling phase (2014, 2016, 2018, 2020). The aim of this paper is to synthesise data on changes in the environmental parameters of the Torey lakes during a climate cycle (the drying and initial filling of basins). Climatic fluctuations lead to changes on some physical parameters and the hydrochemical compound. In Lake Zun-Torey, such environmental characteristics are total dissolved solids, pH, and water temperature increase, while depth decreases during transitions from high to low water levels. In periods of high water level, the hydrochemical parameters of Lake Barun-Torey are the same as those of Lake Zun-Torey (oligohaline and alkaline). The temporary pools on the dry bed of Lake Barun-Torey are freshwater, arising from groundwater and precipitation.


abiotic parameters, Daursky State Nature Biosphere Reserve, hydrological cycle, Lake Barun-Torey, Lake Zun-Torey, water level

Artice information

Received: 05.11.2020. Revised: 18.02.2021. Accepted: 19.02.2021.

The full text of the article

Afonina E.Yu., Tashlykova N.A. 2018. Planktonic communities in the Torey Lakes (Zabaikalsky Krai) in a low water year. Journal of Siberian Federal University. Biology 11(4): 306–320. DOI: 10.17516/1997-1389-0074
Afonina E.Yu., Tashlykova N.A. 2019. Plankton of saline lakes in Southeastern Transbaikalia: transformation and environmental factors. Contemporary Problems of Ecology 12(2): 155–170. DOI: 10.1134/S1995425519020021
Afonina E.Yu., Tashlykova N.A. 2020. Fluctuations in plankton community structure of endorheic soda lakes of southeastern Transbaikalia (Russia). Hydrobiologia 847(6): 1383–1398. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-020-04207-z
Alimov A.F. (Ed.). 1991. Soda lakes of Transbaikalia: Ecology and productivity. Novosibirsk: Nauka. 216 p. [In Russian]
Bazarova B.B., Tashlykova N.A., Afonina E.Yu., Kuklin A.P., Matafonov P.V., Tsybekmitova G.Ts., Gorlacheva E.P., Itigilova M.Ts., Afonin A.V., Butenko M.N. 2019. Long-term fluctuations of the aquatic ecosystems in the Onon-Torey plain (Russia). Acta Ecologica Sinica 39: 157–165. DOI: 10.1016/j.chnaes.2018.08.003
Bazhenova O.I. 2013. Modern dynamics of lake-fluvial systems of Onon-Torey high plain (Southern Transbaikalia). Bulletin of Tomsk State University 371: 171–177. [In Russian]
Beklioglu M., Romo S., Kagalou I., Quintana X., Bécares E. 2007. State of the art in the functioning of shallow Mediterranean lakes: workshop conclusions. Hydrobiologia 584(1): 317–326. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-007-0577-x
Boros E., Kolpakova M. 2018. A review of the defining chemical properties of soda lakes and pans: an assessment on a large geographic scale of Eurasian inland saline surface waters. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202205. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202205
Borzenko S., Drebot V., Fedorov I. 2019. Chemical composition and formation conditions of NaHCO3 type of waters in the eastern Transbaikalia. E3S Web of Conferences 98: 01005. DOI: 10.1051/e3sconf/20199801005
Borzenko S., Drebot V., Fedorov I. 2020. Main formation conditions of soda-type groundwater: A case study from south-eastern Transbaikal region (Russia). Applied Geochemistry 123: 104763. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2020.104763
Comín F.A., Cabrera M., Rodó X. 1999. Saline lakes: integrating ecology into their management future. Hydrobiologia 395–396: 241–251. DOI: 10.1023/A:1017014023505
Comín F.A., Rodó X., Comín P. 1992. Lake Gallocanta (Aragon, NE Spain), a paradigm of fluctuations at different scales of time. Limnetica 8: 79–86.
Dalgaard P. 2008. Introductory statistics with R. New York: Springer. 364 p.
Davydova N.D. 2014. Dynamics of indicators of steppe geosystems of the Southeastern Transbaikalia under the conditions of global climate changes. International Journal of Applied and Fundamental Research 4: 120–125. [In Russian]
Deng W., He Y., Song X.S., Yang B.X. 2001. Hydrochemical characteristics of salt marsh wetlands in western Songnen Plain. Journal of Geographical Sciences 11(2): 217–223. DOI: 10.1007/BF02888693
Dzyuba A.A., Kulagina N.V. 2005. Formation and distribution of mineral lakes of Pribaikalye and Zabaikalye. Water Resources 1: 13–17. [In Russian]
Egorov A.N. 1993. Mongolian salt lakes: some features of their geography, thermal patterns, chemistry and biology. Hydrobiologia 267: 13–21.
Frish V.A. 1972. Torey «experiment». Nature 2: 60–66. [In Russian]
García C.M., García-Ruiz R., Manuel R., Niell F.X., Lucena J. 1997. Hydrological cycle and interannual variability of the aquatic community in a temporary saline lake (Fuente de Piedra, Southern Spain). Hydrobiologia 345(2–3): 131–141. DOI: 10.1023/A:1002983723725
Goroshko O.A. 2000. Key ornithological territories of world importance in the Chita region. In: Inventory, monitoring and conservation of the key ornithological territories of Russia. Vol. 2. Moscow: Russian Bird Conservation Union. P. 19–23. [In Russian]
Hammer U.T. 1986. Saline lake ecosystems of the world. Dordrecht: Springer. 616 p.
Ivanov A.V. 1977. Torey lakes. In: Hydrochemistry of rivers and lakes in a high continental climate Vladivostok: Far East Research Center USSR. P. 69–102.
Jeppesen E., Brucet S., Naselli-Flores L., Papastergiadou E., Stefanidis K., Nõges T., Nõges P., Attayde J.L., Zohary T., Coppens J., Bucak T., Menezes R.F., Freitas F.R.S., Kernan M., Søndergaard M., Beklioğlu M. 2015. Ecological impacts of global warming and water abstraction on lakes and reservoirs due to changes in water level and related changes in salinity. Hydrobiologia 750(1): 201–227. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-014-2169-x
Kirilyuk O.K., Kirilyuk V.E., Goroshko O.A., Saraeva L.I., Sinitsa S.M., Borodin T.I., Tkachenko T.E., Brinich V.A. 2009. Biosphere Reserve «Daursky». Chita: Ekspress. 104 p. [In Russian]
Kirilyuk V.E., Obyazov V.A., Tkachuk T.E., Kirilyuk O.K. 2012. Influence of climate change on vegetation and wildlife in the Daurian ecoregion. In: M.J.A. Werger, M.A. van Staalduinen (Eds.): Eurasian steppes. Ecological problems and livelihoods in a changing world. Dordrecht: Springer. P. 397–424. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-3886-7_15
Kirilyuk O.K., Tkachuk T.E. 2012. Dauria as an ecological region. In: O.K. Kirilyuk (Ed.). Adaptation to climate change in the river basins of Dauria: ecology and water management. Vol. 5. Chita: Ekspress. P. 7–13. [In Russian]
Krendelev F.P. 1986. Frequency of filling and drying of Torey lakes (South-Eastern Transbaikalia) Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR 287(2): 396–400. [In Russian]
Kuklin A.P., Tsybekmitova G.T., Gorlacheva E.P. 2013. State of lake ecosystems in Onon-Torei plain in 1983–2011 (Eastern Transbaikalia). Arid Ecosystems 3(3): 122–130. DOI: 10.1134/S2079096113030062
Legler B., Schneider J.W., Gebhardt U., Merten D., Gaupp R. 2011. Lake deposits of moderate salinity as sensitive indicators of lake level fluctuations: Example from the Upper Rotliegend saline lake (Middle–Late Permian, Northeast Germany). Sedimentary Geology 234(1–4): 56–69. DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2010.11.006
Namsaraev B.B. 2009. Salinity and saline lakes of Transbaikalia: Hydrochemistry, biology. Ulan-Ude: Buryat State University. 332 p. [In Russian]
Nekipelov N.V. 1957. The climate of southeastern Transbaikalia and a historical review of epizootics against the background of climatic changes. Bulletin of Irkutsk Scientific Research Anti-Plague Institute of Siberia and the Far East 15: 19–56. [In Russian]
Obyazov V.A. 1994. Correlation between water filling of the steppe lakes of Transbaikalia and hydrometeorological changes of the Torey lakes. Bulletin of the Russian Geographic Society 126(5): 48–54. [In Russian]
Obyazov V.A. 1996. Regularities of the Transbaikalia steppe zone humidification and their manifestation in the regime of lakes (by the example of Torey lakes). PhD Thesis Abstract. St. Petersburg. 20 p. [In Russian]
Obyazov V.A. 2012. Change of climate and hydrological regime of the rivers and lakes in Dahurian ecoregion. In: O.K. Kirilyuk (Ed.): Problems of adaptation and climate change in the river basins of Dahuria: ecological and hydroeconomic aspects. Vol. 5. Chita: Ekspress. P. 24–45. [In Russian]
Olaka L.A., Odada E.O., Trauth M.H., Olago D.O. 2010. The sensitivity of East African rift lakes to climate fluctuations. Journal of Paleolimnology 44(2): 629–644. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-010-9442-4
Rasskazov A.A., Sevastyanov D.V., Egorov A.N. 1990. Composition of the lake water and mineral sediments in drainless basins of Southern Khubsugul region. Geography and Natural Resources 1: 170–174. [In Russian]
Schagerl M. (Ed.). 2016. Soda lakes of East Africa. Switzerland: Springer. 408 p.
Sevastyanov D.V. 2000. Moisture fluctuations and development of limnosystems in the Gobi Valley of lakes (Mongolia). Arid Ecosystems 6(11–12): 77–88. [In Russian]
Shadrin N.V., Anufriieva E.V. 2013. Climate change impact on the marine lakes and their crustaceans: the case of marine hypersaline Lake Bakalskoye (Ukraine). Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 13(4): 603–611. DOI: 10.4194/1303-2712-v13_4_05
Shamsutdinov V.Kh. 1983. Peculiarities of water regime of Torey lakes. In: Nature of Tsasucheisko-Toreiskii Reserve. Chita: Transbaikal Branch of the USSR Geographical Society. P. 7–11. [In Russian]
Simonov E., Goroshko O., Egidarev E., Kiriliuk O., Kiriliuk V., Kochneva N., Obyazov V., Tkachuk T. 2013. Adaptation to climate change in the river basins of Dauria: ecology and water management. Beijing: People's Daily Press. 104 p.
Sklyarov E.V., Sklyarova O.A., Menshagin Yu.V., Danilova M.A. 2011. Mineralized lakes of the Transbaikalia and Northeastern Mongolia: specific features of occurrence and ore-generating potential. Geography and Natural Recourses 32(4): 323–332. DOI: 10.1134/S1875372811040044
Stephens D.W. 1990. Changes in lake levels, salinity and the biological community of Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA), 1847–1987. Hydrobiologia 197(1): 139–146. DOI: 10.1007/BF00026946
Talling J.F. 2001. Environmental controls on the functioning of shallow tropical lakes. Hydrobiologia 458: 1–8. DOI: 10.1023/A:1013121522321
Tóth A., Horváth Z., Vad C.F., Zsuga K., Nagy S.A., Boros E. 2014. Zooplankton of the European soda pans: fauna and conservation of a unique habitat type. International Review of Hydrobiology 99(3): 255–276. DOI: 10.1002/iroh.201301646
Tsybekmitova G.Ts. 2018. Hydrochemistry of certain lakes of the Onon-Torey High Plain. International Journal of Applied and Fundamental Research 11: 144–148. [In Russian]
Tsybekmitova G.Ts., Belozertseva I.A. 2014. Hydrochemistry of saline lakes of Onon-Borzinskoe interfluve (Zabaykalsky Krai). Water: Chemistry and Ecology 2: 3–8. [In Russian]
Tsyrenova D.D., Bryanskaya A.V., Namsaraev B.B. 2008. Hydrobiological studies of soda-saline lakes of Transbaikalia. Bulletin of Irkutsk State University. Series Biology. Ecology 1(1): 135–138. [In Russian]
Vakhnina I.L., Noskova E.V., Golyatina M.A. 2020. Features of change in area of a water mirror and the number of lakes in the steppe zone of the Eastern Transbaikalia. Proceedings of Voronezh State University. Series: Geography. Geoecology 3: 13–23. DOI: 10.17308/geo.2020.3/3019 [In Russian]
Vesnina L.V., Permyakova G.V., Ronzhina T.O. 2012. Biota of commercial hyperhaline lakes of the Altai Territory in transgressive and regressive phases of water availability. Bulletin of Kamchatka State Technical University 21: 24–30. [In Russian]
Vizer L.S. 2016. Zooplankton communities of saline reservoirs of the south of Western Siberia by example of Chany Lake system. Dr. Sc. Thesis. Novosibirsk. 309 p. [In Russian]
Williams W.D. 2002. Environmental threats to salt lakes and the likely status of inland saline ecosystems in 2025. Environmental Conservation 29(2): 154–167. DOI: 10.1017/S0376892902000103
Wood R.B., Talling J.F. 1988. Chemical and algal relationships in a salinity series of Ethiopian inland waters. Hydrobiologia 158(1): 29–67. DOI: 10.1007/BF00026266
Zadereev E. 2018. Salt lakes, surrounding environments and environmental management. In: M. Zheng, T. Deng, A. Oren (Eds.): Introduction to Salt Lake Sciences. Beijing: Science Press. P. 172–179.
Zadereev E., Lipka O., Karimov B., Krylenko M., Elias V., Pinto I.S., Alizade V., Anker Ya., Feest A., Kuznetsova D., Mader A., Salimov R., Fischer M. 2020. Overview of past, current, and future ecosystem and biodiversity trends of inland saline lakes of Europe and Central Asia. Inland Waters 10(4): 438–452. DOI: 10.1080/20442041.2020.1772034
Zakharyuk A.G., Kozyreva L.P., Egorova D.V., Namsaraev B.B. 2010. Physical and chemical and microbial characterization of sandy mate of soda Zun-Torey Lake (Transbaikalia). Bulletin of the Moscow Region State University. Series: Natural Sciences 1: 104–107. [In Russian]
Zamana L.V. 2009. Formation and transformation of the chemical composition of waters of mineral lakes (the example of Transbaikalia). Doklady Earth Sciences 428(7): 1188–1191. DOI: 10.1134/S1028334X09070332
Zamana L.V., Borzenko S.V. 2010. Hydrochemical regime of saline lakes in the southeastern Transbaikalia. Geography and Natural Resources 31(4): 370–376. DOI: 10.1016/j.gnr.2010.11.011
Zamana L.V., Vakhnina I.L. 2014. Hydrochemistry of saline lakes of the southeastern Transbaikalia under climate aridization in the beginning of 20th century. International Journal of Applied and Fundamental Researches 11(4): 608–612. [In Russian]