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Mixing and distribution of the physical and biological components o f the Black sea ecosystem


Foreseen Results

The co-operation of the five partners provides a unique range of expertise combining local knowledge with authorities on biological and physical oceanography. This synergy provides an excellent opportunity to examine the relevant processes, given the timely use of satellite imagery, sophisticated laboratory experimentation and powerful numerical modelling techniques. A valuable data set, showing the spatial variability of the Sea will be obtained which will allow the full seasonable variability to be determined. It will also provide a mean of identifying the pollutant sources and the biological response.

The research project will increase understanding of the complex balances that operate within the Black Sea ecosystem which will assist in making decisions concerning future urban and tourist developments, in planning shipping and transport policies and in harbouring the abundant natural resources.
The Back Sea is a critical region of the European ecosystem. It is relatively enclosed sear with limited exchanges with the Mediterranean basin via the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles. The surrounding countries depend on the Black Sea as an economic resource and as a depository for waste. The Black Sea is abundantly stocked with valuable sturgeon and other fish. As an outlet for the products of Ukraine and adjoining republics, it is of special importance in regional commerce. This project will study the Back Sea in an integrated programme which interfaces both the physical and biological processes which control the balance within the ecosystem. The major threat to the ecological balance comes from coastal inputs, and the effects of these inputs are, in turn, controlled by the rates at which they are mixed into the sea basin. In addition, the distributions of biological components in the Black Sea are also determined by the physical flows and the mixing processes.

It is proposed to carry our an interdisciplinary study of the Black Sea combining the expertise of biologists and physicists, in a unique study. Satellite imagery will be used to map the biological distributions (using ocean color and thermal imagery), and also physical properties as marked by the sea-surface temperature. The data will be used to define the structures responsible for the movement of the biomass, and to provide a unique data set on the Black Sea. Associated with this study will be research into the fluid dynamical processes that are responsible for the water movement and the mixing processes. Recent research, by the participants of this project has shown that dispersion of pollutants and biological materials depends crucially on the presence of flow structures. For example, material trapped in recirculating eddies takes much longer to disperse, and may only be mixed with surrounding water when the eddy is destroyed. The eddy field of the Black Sa will be studied in laboratory representations which will allow mixing rates to be determined, and compared with the field observations. Numerical models, based on large-eddy simulation and kinematic simulation, will be developed and compared with the idealized laboratory experiments. The latter will provide data for validation of the models, and then the calculations will be applied to the Black Sea.

Call for proposal

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University of Cambridge
Silver street
CB3 9EW Cambridge
United Kingdom

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EU contribution
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Participants (4)