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Lake Baikal is the oldest lake and largest freshwater reservoir in the world. As a result of its exceptionally long geological history, the lake has been a theatre of evolution and speciation of organisms, and it currently harbors more species than any other lake in the world. In late autumn 1998 a symposium was held in Japan with the theme "Lake Baikal: A mirror in time and space for understanding global change processes" . This book contains a selection of the papers presented at this symposium. They are interdisciplinary in nature and bring together results from geology, paleontology, chemistry, biology, limnology and physics.