Comparative Phytogeography of the Ushkanii Island, Lake Baikal, Russia, and the Caribou Islands, Lake Superior, Canada

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Rolland Fraser

Second Advisor

Dr. Philip Micklin

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph De Bolt

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only


Islands are biogeographically unique because of their isolation and the conditions of their surrounding waters. The majority of island biogeography studies deal with oceanic islands, but an interesting variety of islands that have been given less attention are those in large lakes. Islands in large lakes and those in oceans share a number of similarities, as well as many differences, in their biogeography.

Studies have been made on two distantly separated island groups; the Ushkanii Islands, Lake Baikal and the Caribou Islands, Lake Superior. They are the most remote lands in their respective lakes, and the main islands of each of the two groups are similar in size and shape, and forested with a coniferous taiga. They differ in topography, geology, soils, human history, age, and distance from mainland.

The conditions found on these islands and reported by previous researchers show many unusual floristic phenomena, which are explained as expressions of the biogeography of large lake islands. For example, both sites have climates ameliorated by the surrounding lake waters, and both have numerous disjunct species not normally found in their areas-from colder climates as well as warmer.

The islands' settings are described, their physical geographies, florae, and phytogeographies given, their comparative aspects are discussed in detail, and related to their status as lake islands. Finally, their conservation histories and potentials are addressed in light of their value as natural areas unlike any other.

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