Marine Ecological Geography: Theory and Experience

by: Dmitry Ya Fashchuk

In Chapter 1 the methodological principles of systemization and visualization of multidimensional ecological information for its operational dissemination among potential users are stated. Their realization results in creation of the geographic-and ecologic model of marine basin as an information base for diagnosis of the marine ecosystem state, estimation of consequences of economic activity, and modelling of its changes with the use of mathematical tools. In Chapter 2 the geographic-and-ecological aspects of mathematical modelling of marine ecosystems, the possibilities and peculiarities of the most adequate models, the Russian hydrodynamic model of oil spills "SPILLMOD" and hydroecological model of organogenic compound transformation in the sea, are investigated. In the following six Chapters the examples of practical realization of geographic-and-ecological (as information source) and mathematical (as computing apparatus) modelling at the investigations of specific ecological problems associated with consequences of natural hazards and economic activity on aquatory and within the whole Black Sea basin are given.


1 Geographic and Ecological Information Model of Marine Basin

1.1…Marine Ecological Information

1.2…Traditional Schemes in Analysis of Marine Ecological Information

1.3…Geographic and Ecological Principles of Marine Ecological Data Systematization

1.4…Visualization of Marine Ecological Data: Principles of Ecological Mapping of Marine Aquatories

1.4.1 Retrospective Maps of Paleogeographic Reconstructions

1.4.2 Diagnostic Marine Ecological Maps Maps of Distribution of Life Concentration Centers Maps of Commercial Bottom Organism Distribution Maps of Economic Activity Consequences for Marine Environmental Conditions

1.4.3 Complex Presentation of Marine Ecological Information Integral Schematic Maps of Natural Process Development in Marine Basin Integral Schematic Maps of Economic Activity Types on Aquatory and Watershed of Marine Basin Integral Schematic Maps of Anthropogenic Load on Marine Aquatory and Its Consequences for Marine Environmental Conditions

1.4.4 Prognostic Marine Ecological Maps

1.5…Tolerance of Marine Organisms to Pollutant Impact

1.5.1 Oil Products, Phenols, Detergents

1.5.2 Organochlorine Pesticides

1.5.3 Heavy Metals Zooplankton



Lead, Cadmium, Zinc Zoobenthos



Lead, Cadmium, Zinc Fishes



Lead, Cadmium


1.6…Integral Acuteness Assessment of Marine Ecological Situation

1.7…Ecological Importance of Watershed Territory for Marine Aquatories

1.7.1 Hydrologic and Climatic Characteristics of Marine Watershed Basin River net Mean Annual Runoff Depth

1.7.2 Societal and Administrative Features of Watershed Area Administrative Division Population Density

1.7.3 Economic Characteristics of Watershed Territory Distribution of Land Resources and Agriculture Branches Distribution and Character of Industrial Production

1.7.4 Integral Criteria of Ecological Importance of Watershed Territory for Marine Basin Index of Anthropogenic Load on Water Resources Index of Potential Ecological Danger of Industrial Production in the Watershed Basin to Marine Aquatory (PED)



2 Mathematical Modeling of Marine Ecosystems: Geographic and Ecological Aspects

2.1…Types of Mathematical Models of Marine Ecosystems

2.2…Objectives of Mathematical Modeling in Marine Ecology

2.3…Models of Biochemical Processes in Marine Ecosystems

2.3.1 Formalization of Biochemical Processes in Mathematical Models

2.3.2 Point Models

2.3.3 Box Models

2.3.4 Continuous Models

2.3.5 Hydroecological Model of Organogenic Element Transformation

2.4…Hydrodynamic Models of Marine Environment

2.4.1 Russian Hydrodynamic Model of Oil Spills ‘‘SPILLMOD’’ Accident Simulation Identification of Risk Zones and Probability of Object impact by Oil Spill in the Aquatory or in Coastal Zone of the Sea Forecast of Development of Accident Situation After Oil Spill



3 Hydrogen Sulphide Zone in the Open Black Sea: Mechanisms of Formation, Evolution, Dynamics and Present State

3.1…Paleoreconstructions of Ancient Basins of the Black Sea

3.1.1 Evolution of the Paratethys Basins Cycle I Cycle II Cycle III Cycle IV Cycle V Cycle VI Cycle VII

3.1.2 Quaternary Basins of the Black Sea

3.2…Mathematical Modeling of Evolution of Hydrological and Hydrochemical Structure of the Black Sea Waters

3.2.1 Formation of Vertical Salinity Profile

3.2.2 Generation and Development of Anaerobic Conditions

3.3…Hydrogen Sulfide Zone of the Black Sea

3.3.1 Nature and Spatiotemporal Distribution of Hydrogen Sulfide

3.3.2 Topography of the Upper Hydrogen Sulfide Boundary and its Determining Factors Intraannual Dynamics of the Hydrogen Sulfide Upper Boundary Assessment of Correctness of Methodology of the Hydrogen Sulfide Upper Boundary Determination Primary Causes of Seasonal Dynamics of Anaerobic Zone Boundary

3.3.3 Microstructure of the O2--H2S Coexistence Layer and Possible Mechanisms of its Formation Oxygen Hydrogen Sulfide Rates of Hydrogen Sulfide Oxidation

3.3.4 Seasonal Statistical Portraits of the C-Layer and Possible Mechanisms of its Microstructure Formation Oxygen Hydrogen Sulfide Rates of Hydrogen Sulfide Oxidation

3.4…Interannual Dynamics of the H2S-Zone Boundary

3.4.1 Characteristic Physical Surfaces of the Black Sea Permanent Halocline and Main Pycnocline Cold Intermediate Layer

3.4.2 Relationship of the Cold Intermediate Layer Topography with Position of the H2S-Zone Upper Boundary Field Experiments Formalization of Relationship of Boundary Depths of Physical and Chemical Surfaces Stability Testing of the Relationship Between the Positions of the Physical and Chemical Surfaces

3.4.3 The Retrospective Long-Term Dynamics of the Anaerobic Zone Boundary Calculated by Hydrological Data

3.5…Ecological Hysteria and Project on ‘‘Rescue’’ of the Black Sea from the Ecological Disaster

3.6…Geographic and Ecological Assessment of Ecological Catastrophe Probability in the Black Sea

3.6.1 Seismic Activity of the Black Sea Coast and Cause of the ‘‘Sea Fires’’ During the Crimean Earthquake in 1927

3.6.2 Toxicity and Explosiveness of Hydrogen Sulfide

3.6.3 Prime Causes of the Long-Term Dynamics of the H2S-Boundary and Possibility of its Outcrop Global Climatic Variations Change in Intensity of the Oxygen and Hydrogen Sulfide Sources

3.7…Synoptic Variability of the H2S-Boundary in the Black Sea

3.7.1 Upwellings of the Black Sea

3.7.2 Relationship of the H2S-Boundary Topography with Summer Weather in the Coastal Black Sea

3.7.3 Weather and Position of the H2S-Boundary in the Open Black Sea



4 Seasonal Hydrogen Sulfide Zones of the Northwestern Black Sea Shelf: Nature, Dynamics, Prediction

4.1…Research Strategy of Prime Causes of Ecological Crises

4.1.1 Hypothesis of Complex Mechanism of Suffocation Development Hypothesis of ‘‘Eutrophication’’ Physico-dynamic Hypothesis Hypothesis of Complex Mechanism of Hypoxia Intensification

4.1.2 Experimental Study of Spatiotemporal Variability of Oxygen Regime in the Near-Bottom Water Layer

4.2…Peculiarities of Oxygen Regime in Near-Bottom Shelf Waters

4.3…Tendencies in Oceanographic Characteristics and Water Structure

4.3.1 Physico-dynamic Parameters

4.3.2 Hydrochemical Characteristics

4.4…Tendencies in Changes of Hydrobiological Components of Shelf Ecosystem and Their Consequences

4.4.1 Changes in Phytoplankton Populations

4.4.2 Changes in Zooplankton Populations

4.4.3 Changes in Bacterioplankton Populations

4.5…The Prime Causes of Intensification of Summer Ecological Crises on the NW Shelf of the Black Sea

4.5.1 The Causes of Hydrological Structure Transformation

4.5.2 The Causes of Hydrobiological Structure Transformation

4.5.3 The Complex Mechanism of Suffocation Events Intensification

4.6…Mathematical Modeling of the Anaerobic Zone Dynamics and Timing of its Existence on the Shelf

4.6.1 Spatiotemporal Dynamics Under the Influence of Hydrometeorological Factors

4.6.2 Chemical Dynamics

4.7…Experimental Study of the Shelf Anaerobic Zone Synoptic Variability for the Purpose of Natural Resources Rational Exploitation

4.7.1 Synoptic Variability of the H2S-Boundary Position at the Different Hydrological Conditions

4.7.2 Influence of Synoptic Situations on Spatial Distribution and Dynamics of Anaerobic Zone in the Areas of Artificial Mussel Cultivation

4.7.3 Real-Time Search of Commercial Sprat Concentration on the Black Sea NW Shelf



5 Gas Production on the Northwestern Shelf of the Black Sea: Scales, Geographic and Ecological Conditions, Consequences and Their Forecast

5.1…Oil-and-Gas Content of the Azov-Black Sea Basin

5.1.1 The Sea of Azov

5.1.2 The Kerch--Taman Shelf and Coastal Zone

5.1.3 The Northwestern Shelf of the Black Sea

5.2…Natural Factors of Dynamics and Transformation of Pollutants on the NW Shelf

5.2.1 Physico-geographic Features

5.2.2 Heat Balance and Waters Oceanographic Characteristics

5.2.3 Atmospheric Transfer and Wind Currents

5.2.4 River Discharge

5.2.5 Bottom Sediments and Aquatic Geochemical Landscapes

5.2.6 Synoptic Eddies on the Shelf Edge

5.3…Background of Environment Pollution on the NW Shelf

5.3.1 Economic Activities on the Watershed Territory and Shelf Aquatory

5.3.2 Index of Anthropogenic Load on Water Resources of the Watershed Basin The Danube Watershed Territory The Dniester, Southern Bug, and Dnieper Watershed Territory

5.3.3 Index of Potential Environmental Threat of Coastal Industrial Productions for Shelf Ecosystem

5.3.4 Interannual Variability of Polluting Substance Supply Compounds of Phosphorus and Nitrogen Oil Hydrocarbons Synthetic Surfactants Phenols Organochlorine Pesticides

5.3.5 Present Level of Water Pollution Phosphorus and Nitrogen Compounds Oil Hydrocarbons Synthetic Surfactans Phenols Organochlorine Pesticides Heavy Metals Mercury Copper Lead Zinc

5.3.6 Assessment of Ecological Situation for Sea Water

5.3.7 Dynamics of Oil and Chemical Water Pollution Level Phosphorus and Nitrogen Compounds Oil Hydrocarbons Synthetic Surfactants Phenols Organochlorine Pesticides Heavy Metals

5.3.8 Oil and Chemical Pollution of Bottom Sediments Oil Hydrocarbons Phenols Organochlorine Pesticides Heavy Metals






5.4…Commercial Hydrobionts and Their Food Objects

5.4.1 Zooplankton

5.4.2 Phytobenthos

5.4.3 Zoobenthos

5.4.4 Pelagic Fishes Black Sea anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus ponticus) Mediterranean Scad (Trachurus mediterraneus ponticus) Sprat (Sprattus sprattus sprattus)

5.4.5 Bottom Fishes Sturgeons Flounders Mullets

5.5…Environmental Monitoring in the Gas Production Areas in the Karkinit Bay of the Black Sea

5.5.1 Interannual Dynamics of Marine Environment Pollution in the Zone of Gas Field Production Oil Products


Bottom Sediments Microelements


Bottom Sediments

5.5.2 Spatial Variability of Oil and Chemical Pollution of Marine Environment Oil Products


Bottom Sediments Microelements

Water (0 m)

Water (Bottom)

Bottom Sediments

5.5.3 Comparison of Monitoring Results with Characteristics of Pollution in Other Regions of the World Ocean Water

Oil Products

Microelements Bottom Sediments

Oil Products


5.5.4 Hydrogeochemical Consequences of Offshore Gas Production

5.6…Features of Offshore Hydrocarbon Fields Development Technology

5.6.1 Normative Legal Regulation of Offshore Hydrocarbons Exploration and Production

5.6.2 Possible Mechanisms of Environmental Pollution During Offshore Gas Production in the Karkinit Bay of the Black Sea

5.7…Mathematical Modeling of Oil Product Transformation in Karkinit Bay Waters on the Basis of Geographic and Ecological Data

5.7.1 Input Data and Scenarios of Numerical Experiments

5.7.2 Calculated Dynamics of Oil Products Concentrations and Forecast of Time Period of Shelf Water Self-Purification from Oil Pollution Winter Spring Summer Autumn



6 Geographic and Ecological Assessment of Coastal Zone on the Russian Black Sea Aquatory as a Region of Mariculture Development

6.1…Features and Prospects of Mariculture Development in Russia

6.2…World Experience in Estimation of Ecological Consequences of Fish Farm Functioning

6.3…Natural Factors and Mechanisms of Formation of Environment Conditions in Russian Coastal Waters of the Black Sea

6.3.1 Physico-geographic Features of the North Caucasian Coast of the Black Sea

6.3.2 Climate and Meteorological Conditions The Wind Regime Air Temperature and Humidity Clouds, Precipitation, Dangerous Weather Events

6.3.3 Waves and Hydrological Conditions

6.3.4 Water Dynamics

6.3.5 Hydrochemical Conditions

6.4…Oil and Chemical Pollution, Sanitary and Epidemiological State of Waters

6.5…Assessment of Possible Mariculture Impact on Marine Environment



7 Geographic and Ecological Information Model---‘‘Portrait’’ of the Black Sea Kerch Strait

7.1…Geological History

7.2…Main Transport Corridor of the Azov--Black Sea Basin (History of Exploration and Exploitation)

7.3…Distribution of Life

7.3.1 Plankton Organisms Phytoplankton Zooplankton Ichthyoplankton

7.3.2 Benthic Organisms

7.3.3 Fishery Characteristic of the Strait

7.4…Natural Mechanisms of Environmental Condition Formation

7.4.1 Atmospheric Circulation and Water Dynamics

7.4.2 Wind Waves and Water Exchange via the Strait

7.4.3 Thermohaline Conditions and Ice Regime

7.5…Economic Activity on the Strait Aquatory and its Consequences

7.5.1 Transport Operations

7.5.2 Transshipment and Pumping Transfer of Cargo

7.5.3 Dredging and Dumping of Grounds

7.5.4 Oil and Chemical Pollution of Water and Bottom Sediments

7.5.5 Present Attempt to Dam the Tuzla Channel

7.6…Possible Hydroecological Consequences of Tuzla Channel Damming

7.6.1 Plans of Artificial Regulation of Water Exchange via the Kerch Strait in the Late XX Century

7.6.2 Changes in Environmental Conditions and Behavior of Commercial Hydrobionts After Natural Breaking of the Tuzla Spit in 1925

7.6.3 Possible and Actual Changes in Environmental Conditions After Construction of the Tuzla Dam in 2003

7.6.4 Possible Changes in Fish Behavior After Construction of the Tuzla Dam in 2003



8 Wreck of the Tanker Volgoneft-139 in the Kerch Strait on November 11, 2007

8.1…Hydrometeorological Conditions of the Wreck

8.2…Chronicle of the Wreck

8.3…Consequences of the Wreck

8.3.1 Aquatory and Coast of the Strait in the First Days After the Wreck

8.4…Prognosis of Probable Oil Spill Dynamics in the Kerch Strait

8.5…The Kerch Strait: A Year After the Wreck

8.5.1 Research Conducted by the Organizations of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring

8.5.2 Research Conducted by the Azov Research Institute of Fisheries (AzNIRKH)

8.5.3 Research Conducted by the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

8.5.4 Studies Conducted by the Southern Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (YugNIRO)

8.5.5 Research Conducted by the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the World Wild Life Fund

8.5.6 Research Conducted During the UNEP Expedition

8.5.7 Rosprirodnadzor Expeditions

8.5.8 Research Conducted by the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2008



9 Total Conclusions

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