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Marine Ecology, Sozopol

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Laboratory of Marine Ecology, Sozopol


The Laboratory of Marine Ecology is a field station of the Central Laboratory of General Ecology. It is based in the town of Sozopol just on the coast of the Black Sea. Presently it possess a permanent staff of three persons. One Assoc. Professor and three Researcher with PhD degree are employed in Sofia.
Laboratory of general ecological investigation, chemical-analytical laboratory, instrumental lab, radio-isotopic lab, a workshop, stores and a kitchen are  situated on 230 m². The basic scientific instrumentation comprises a spectrophotometer and the corresponding devices for water analyzes; Oxy-meter and pH meter; microscopes and devices for phytoplankton and microbiologycal investigations; liquid-scintillation counter for radio-isotopic measurements.      
LME is specialized in coastal ecosystems investigations and wetland investigations.

The investigations are based both on laboratory research in Sofia and at the Marine Ecology Laboratory in Sozopol. A comprehensive monitoring program is carried out in the Srebarna wetland. The main achievements include the elaboration of prognoses for the state of the marine coastal ecosystems in the Bourgas Bay on the basis of long-term monitoring program, investigations on their structure and functioning and the impact of the oil pollution on them. The program includes monthly and fortnightly measurements of the main abiotic (including salinity, transparency and concentration of nutrients) and biotic factors (including chlorophyll A and seston concentrations, the rate of the main biological processes  as primary production, organic matter destruction and heterotrophic uptake of dissolved metabolites) of the ecosystems.


Research Fields:

  • Functional monitoring of marine coastal ecosystems and wetlands.
  • Anthropogenic impact assessment.
  • Ecosystem state and quality assessment.
  • Development of scientifically based management approaches of  marine coastal zone and of wetlands ecosystems.

Research activities:

  • Identification of key biogeochemical processes and mechanisms involved in ecosystems functioning on local and regional scales.
  • Determination of basic fluxes within the biogeochemical cycles.
  • Studies on environmental factors and anthropogenic pollutants  impact on ecosystem structure and function.
  • Small scale modelling and analysis on the water ecosystem level (small marine bays; wetlands).
  • Monitoring of most important abiotic and biotic parameters in water ecosystems.
  • Molecular approaches (DNA, RNA) in the study of marine coastal ecosystem structure and function under anthropogenic impact.
  • Management plans of protected wetlands.


Research methods/approaches:

  • Measurements of important physical and chemical parameters of the environment, rates of the biological processes as primary production, respiration, organic mater uptake, etc.
  • Measurement of biogeochemical fluxes in the sediments and water column.
  • Use of radiolabeled compounds in metabolism investigations, in measurement the rates and fluxes of important biological processes and rates of degradation of pollutants.
  • Model studies in mezocosm and laboratory microcosms.
  • Molecular biology methods for assessment of the microbial shift under anthropogenic impact.
  • Macroalgae (seaweeds) community structure determination, distribution and mapping.
  • Budged models of water quality as instruments of management.

Recent research:

  • Ecological status of marine ecosystems along the Bulgarian Black sea coast and relation to the structure and state of communities of macroalgae and seagrasses (g. Cystoseirа and g. Zostera),Bulgarian National Science Fund project (2009-2011)
    • Studies on the impact of the oil pollution on the biodestruction of organic compounds and the emission of greenhouse gasses from the sediments of eutrophicated coastal marine ecosystems.
    • Investigations on the gene expression in marine organisms in the conditions of oil pollution.
    • Management plan of Srebarna Biosphere Reserve – a World Heritage Site (Ramsar Small Grand Fund BG1997).
    • Ecological monitoring of  Srebarna wetland (World Natural Heritage and Biosphere Reserve) aiming elaboration of  management decisions. The comprehensive monitoring program (1998-2007) in the Srebarna wetland involve measurement of abiotic parameters (water level, nutrient, oxygen, pH, conductivity, heavy metals and other pollutants, transparency etc.) biological parameters (primary production, organic matter destruction, chlorophyll A, phytoplankton, bacterioplankton, zooplankton, zoo- and phyto- benthos, phytocenoses, fishes,  births and mammals. (Wider team from the Central Lab of General Ecology and other research institutes).
    • Models for assessment of the critical load of small semiclosed bays with nitrogen and phosphorous compounds.
    • General Environmental Facility Project: Bulgaria – Wetland Restoration and Pollution Reduction Project (GEF TF 050706 BUL) Feasibility Study and Detailed Design. Nutrient trapping and ecosystem background.
    • Reference & Intercalibration sites selection and Reference biological conditions selection relevant to the Framework Water Directive 2000/60/EC (Ministry of Environment). Marine coastal ecosystemsResearch and mapping of the macroalgae distribution in the Bulgarian part of the Black Sea.


Created by gpv
Last modified 20.09.2010 18:04

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