The Institute of Oceanology, Varna is affiliated to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The main research activities are focused on the field of coastal dynamics, marine physics, chemistry, geology, biology, ecology, and underwater investigations. Traditionally involved in all aspects of marine research it also offers consulting and expert services, environmental impact assessment studies, education and training.
The main fields of research can be summarized as follows:
- Coastal zone Hydrodynamics (wind wave in deep sea and shallow water, wind wave climate, wind wave modeling, statistical wind wave models), Lythodynamics (sediment transport, contemporary bottom changes, beach dynamics and cadastre) and Coastal zone management;
- Marine Physics (marine hydrology, water circulation, currents, hydrophysical aspects of marine pollution, semi-enclosed and enclosed basins modeling – Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Mediterranean Sea);
- Marine Biology and Ecology (phytoplankton, zooplankton, macrophytobenthos and zoobenthos, fish-stock assessment, biodiversity, response to environmental parameters – eutrophication and pollution);
- Marine Chemistry (monitoring and analysis of hydrochemical components in the sea, rivers and lakes, indicators of marine environment ecological state: nutrients, oxygen, suspended matter, POC, heavy metals in sea water and sediments);
- Marine Geology and Archeology (geological, geophysical and geo-chemical research, geological mapping, geomorphologic evolution and seabed processes, ancient sea coasts)
- Ocean Engineering (developing of oceanographic instrumentation, specialized and precise devices, deep diving and hyperbaric systems, hydro- and geo-acoustics).
The experts are involved in consulting decision and policy makers for elaboration of environmental friendly regulations and standards for sustainable management of Black Sea living resources at governmental and local authorities’ level. The scientific staffs are qualified in environmental impact assessment expertise.
Black Sea exploration is of special interest to the scientific community, the Institute of Oceanology believes. They do not rule out the possibility of coming across Phoenician or even Viking ships, or those of other ancient maritime peoples. Not only that, but the maritime archaeologists believe that there is a high probability that these vessels are well preserved due to the Black Sea’s unusually high concentration of hydrogen sulfide and lack of oxygen, which do not allow microorganisms – or any life, for that matter – to exist at a depth of 200 meters or more below the surface, effectively freezing the ships in time.
The Institutes research submersible PC –8 has been operated since 1987. Main characteristics:
- Operating depth – 250m
- Deadweight – 5t
- Length – 6,5m
- Crew – 2+1
- Range of underwater cruise – 5 n miles
- Endurance underwater – 5 hours
- Scientific equipment – photo-camera, video-camera, manipulator, sampling devices, LYYN T38™.
The submersible has been used in many operations; one of the most publicly known is the series of expeditions to the Black Sea initiated by National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence and Institute for Exploration president Robert Ballard, the oceanographer and undersea explorer famous for his discovery of the Titanic and other historic shipwrecks. The Black Sea region lay at the crossroads of ancient Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Evidence suggests that the region was a center of maritime trade for millennia, stretching from Roman and Greek times as far back as the Bronze Age. The Black Sea is also the only sea with a deep-water anoxic layer, oxygen-deprived waters where wood-boring mollusks cannot survive. Because of this, wooden shipwrecks of antiquity can remain in a high state of preservation for thousands of years.
In January of 2003 it was announced that the remains of an ancient trading vessel, reportedly over 2,300 years old, dating back to the time of Plato in Greece. It was first seen on the 1st. of August 2002, in 275 feet of water from the submersible PC-8 launched from the Institutes research ship Akademik.
One of the recovered artifacts became world famous thanks to National Geographic, which officially presented to the world on 16 January 2003 “The oldest shipwreck ever found in the Black Sea” aged V- III c. BC. It was an amphora that contained bones of a large freshwater cat fish, some olive pits and resin. Cut marks visible on the fish bones, together with other physical clues and references from classical literature, lead researchers to believe the amphora carried fish steaks—catfish that was butchered into six- to eight-centimeter (two- to three-inch) chunks and perhaps salted and dried for preservation during shipping. Such everyday fare would have been consumed by soldiers and the masses. This led to the conclusion that it was a big supply boat full of butchered fish that was being brought from the fish-rich regions of the Black Sea and their associated lakes back to Greece
In their latest set of tools the PC-8 has been equipped with a LYYN T38™.
“We have used the LYYN T 38 in our manned submersible during the inspection and video recording of a gas pipeline. I am very happy for this device that works perfect in the muddy waters of the Black sea. In our case, when the UW visibility decreases I start piloting the submersible watching the TV monitor showing the LYYN T38™ enhanced video and stop looking through the front window…
To LYYN I send my sincere thanks, to your engineers and designers who developed this fantastic device.”
Dr. Iliya Shtirkov, engineer at The Institute of Oceanology, Varna, Bulgaria