Shelf Sea Oceanography and Meteorology research groupresearprojects

 NATO Collaborative Linkage Grant SP.NUKR.CLG.982285
Black Sea Ecosystem Recovery is a Basis of Regional Environmental Security (2006-2009)

University of Plymouth
University of Plymouth

Marine Hydrophysical Institute
Marine Hydrophysical Institute

Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas
Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas

Project partners:

·         School of Earth Ocean and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth (UoP), Plymouth, UK

·         Marine Hydrophysical Institute (MHI), Sevastopol, Ukraine


·         Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas (IBSS), Sevastopol, Ukraine

Principal investigators:

·         Prof Georgy Shapiro (UoP)

·         Dr Evgeny Lemeshko (MHI)



The Black Sea is a large semi-enclosed basin located at the South-Eastern edge of Europe between latitudes of 41° to 46°N and longitudes of 28° to 41.5°E. Limited water exchange with the open basins and weak vertical mixing due to strong density stratification and very small tidal streams result in an almost completely anoxic deep sea basin with poor ecological conditions. The catchment area of the Black Sea is home to over 160 million people spanning 23 countries and drains some of Europe’s largest rivers. Over the last 30 years the Black Sea has suffered one of the worst environmental crises of the world’s marine ecosystems. The dramatic increase in nutrient loads introduced by rivers promoted wide-spread eutrophication, particularly in the shelf zone which is more nutrient-rich and productive as compared with the open Black Sea. So, investigation of horizontal and vertical mixing processes, especially of the processes of shelf/open sea water- and nutrients exchange in the Black Sea is of the great importance. Satellite and hydrographic observations during the last 10–15 years have shown that horizontal water exchange in the Black Sea is substantially determined by mesoscale eddy dynamics.  However, the influence of mesoscale eddies on spatial distribution of hydrochemical and hydrobiological characteristics is still poorly known and poorly quantified.





Figure  (a) The Black Sea map with the regions of our special research interest and available databases, including the regional sample of TOPEX/Poseidon and JASON tracks; and (b) Extraordinary sea surface temperature event produced by intensive cyclone eddy on 29 September, 2005 (processed by the MHI) during autumn cruise in 2005.


Aims & Objectives:


The aims of this collaborative projects are:

·         Reduce the scientific uncertainties in the processes of mixing in the Black Sea and in particular the vertical mixing across the thermocline, and horizontal cross-frontal substances transport between the shelf and open sea regions provided by mesoscale  features

·         Reveal the pathways of pollutants based on the modern information from direct high-precision measurements of currents and remote sensed data

·         Gain a better understanding of how these features influence losses/gains of pollutants/nutrients and hence the biological productivity and environmental stability of the Black Sea


Field phase (co-sponsored by EU PF6 SESAME project and Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany) and visits:

There were 2 field campaigns associated with this project and co-sponsored by relevant national/international projects:

·         POSEIDON-363 (7-25 March 2008, for details click here), and

·         FELUGA-2009 (16-21 March 2009, for details click here).

Publications / Conference presentations:

POSEIDON-363 cruise:

NW Black Sea, 7-25 March 2008, Chief scientist Jana Friedrich, AWI, Germany. Four member of staff from UoP and MHI participated in this cruise: G. Shapiro ( UoP, leader of the oceanography group), D. Aleynik ( UoP, member of the oceanography group), D. Soloviev ( MHI, member of the oceanography group) and L. Mee (UoP, deputy chief scientist).

The aims of the oceanography group were:

-                           Collect oceanographic water column data (temperature, salinity, oxygen, current velocities) and remotely sensed data ( Sea Surface Temperature and Chlorophyll- a concentration) for the study of the water column processes on the western and north-western shelves of the Black Sea.

-                           Collect water samples for the geochemistry and biochemistry group and for the Institute of Oceanology (Varna).

-                           Operate Fast Rate Repetition Fluorometer (FRRF) and pass the data to the biochemistry group.



In the Lab


The oceanography group cruise report is here.


VYAZEMSKI-2009 cruise:

This cruise took place during the research visit by G. Shapiro and F. Wobus (UoP) to Sevastopol, Ukraine. The report can be found here

Visit by members of UoP to the IBSS in Sevastopol

IBSS research vessel 'Vyazemski'

Visit and Research Cruise by members of the University of Plymouth at the Marine Hydrophysical Institute and the Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas, Sevastopol, Ukraine, 16th - 21st March 2009.

View the trip report.