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Coordination of the international drilling project SCOPSCO as Principal Investigator

SCOPSCO - Scientific Collaboration On Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid


Lake Ohrid, located at the Albanian/Macedonian border, is considered to be the oldest lake of Europe. Taking the lake size into account, Lake Ohrid is by far the most diverse lake in the world, as it is inhabited by more than 300 endemic species. The reasons for the high degree of endemism in the lake are largely unknown.


In order to

(1) better understand the impact of major geological/environmental events on general evolutionary processes and on generating an extraordinary degree of endemic biodiversity as a matter of global significance,

(2) obtain a continuous record containing information on tectonic and volcanic activities and climate changes in the central northern Mediterranean region, and

(3) obtain precise information about age, origin and evolution of the lake,

the sediments of Lake Ohrid were drilled in 2013 under the umbrella of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP)


The deep drilling was carried out with the Deep Lake Drilling System (DLDS) of Drilling, Observation and Sampling of the Earth’s Continental Crust (DOSECC). In April and May 2013, a total of 2100 m sediments were recovered from four drill sites with water depths ranging from 125 to 260 m. The maximum drill depth was 569 m below the lake floor in the centre of the lake. By retrieving overlapping sediment sequences, 95% of the sediment succession was recovered. Initial data from borehole logging, core logging, and geochemical measurements indicate that the sediment succession covers > 1.2 million years (Ma) in a quasi-continuous sequence. For more details about the scientific results of the SCOPSCO project, please click here.


Funding for the coordination of the project at the University of Cologne is provided by the German Research Foundation (DFG).