The international and multi-disciplinary project Scientific Collaboration on Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid (SCOPSCO) was initiated within the scope of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) (i) to obtain more precise information about the age and origin of the lake, (ii) to unravel the seismotectonic history of the lake area including effects of major earthquakes and associated mass wasting events, (iii) to obtain a continuous record containing information on volcanic activities and climate change in the central northern Mediterranean region, and (iv) to better understand the impact of major geological/environmental events on general evolutionary patterns and shaping an extraordinary degree of endemic biodiversity as a matter of global significance.

The SCOPSCO drilling operation in early April 2013 became one of the most successful ICDP lake drilling campaigns in the past. Using the Deep Lake Drilling System (DLDS) by DOSECC (USA), a total of ~2100 m of sediment were recovered from Lake Ohrid until late May 2013 at four different sites. At the “DEEP” site in the center of the lake, a 580 m long sediment succession covers the entire lacustrine history of Lake Ohrid back to the early infill of the basin.

Annual SCOPSCO meetings in the following years formed the basis for the presentation of scientific data, discussion of ongoing research and the scientific outcome of the entire project, which includes more than 45 scientists from 13 countries and from various disciplines including from Geology, Biology, Geophysics, Ecology and Geochemistry. The 7th SCOPSCO meeting to be held at Lake Ohrid in autumn 2020 is now intended to focus on the presentation of newest scientific data and results and to strengthen the public outreach of the entire project.