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): 42–52.

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 A brief overview of some hydrological and hydrochemical characteristics of the lakes, using references and unpublished (own) data, is provided.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

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