In 1996 Gelhaus began his work at Lake Hvsgl with Goulden, initiating a long-term survey of aquatic insects, particularly crane flies, which are especially sensitive to changes in the environment. Gelhaus, a world expert on crane flies, and his colleagues created the Mongolian Aquatic Insect Survey and expanded the river insect surveys to the entire drainage basin of the Selenge River in central Mongolia, incorporating water chemistry and other measurements. The Selenge provides drinking water to the capital city Ulaanbaatar, where nearly half of Mongolia's population lives, and contains most of the country's fresh water. Later projects surveyed watersheds in western and eastern Mongolia.
"Our goal has been to understand the aquatic insect diversity of Mongolia, so the Mongolians could use that data to make assessments of water quality in the future and protect their biodiversity," said Gelhaus, who, like Goulden, was recognized for his dedication to training young Mongolian scientists and establishing facilities and equipment so they can carry out their research.
A laboratory for climate change
Mongolia has been called "a laboratory for climate change." While the average temperature of the earth's surface has risen about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century, Mongolia has experienced an increase of about four degrees just since 1960. This has caused the world to take notice and the people and economy of Mongolia to suffer.
Goulden became interested in the land of Genghis Khan in 1966 when, as part of a cultural exchange program, he visite
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Academy of Natural Sciences