The present project aims to carry out a study regarding the actual status of epibenthic fauna inhabiting hard substratum from Romanian Black Sea coast. Because the rocky bed is present only in the southern part of the Romanian littoral, at depths less than 20m, the specific richness, abundance and biomass distribution of benthic fauna were strongly affected by the urbanization and industrialization of the seaside, as well as by the generalised phenomenon of eutrophication and organic enrichment of the Black Sea. This study has a special significance from the Water Framework Directive 60/2000/EC perspective due to the fact that the study area comprises the Vama Veche – 2 Mai Marine Protected Area.

Our knowledge regarding the abundance and the biomass of benthic organisms inhabiting hard seabed is virtually non-existent because of the difficulties associated to the quantitative sampling of such substrata. The tridimensional structure and hard consistency of this marine sediments make inappropriate the remote sampling using the traditional gear, such as different types of grabs, dredges and trawls. These inconveniences cab be get over by direct observations and in situ sampling by SCUBA diving.

The project imply the fixing of representative sampling transects between Constanta and Vama Veche, the carrying out along these transects of underwater visual surveys and the sampling of zoobenthos by SCUBA diving, sorting, preservation and identification of organisms to the species level in order to perform the synecological analyses of benthic communities.

The obtained data will be compared to existing ones in the literature in order to predict the possible trend of the evolution of epibenthic communities. Also, among the benthic invertebrates will be selected key-stone species and those that can be used as bioindicators of the healts of the marine environment in the routine ecological monitoring.

The present project aims at following objectives:

1. To perform a systematic research which will lead to the establishment of the actual status of the epibenthic biodiversity from rocky substrate of the Romanian Black Sea coast (RBSC);
2. To provide some data on the species composition, density, biomass and distribution patterns of some key-stone species from rocky seabed;
3. To predict the trend of the hard substrate biodiversity by analysing the actual status of the benthic fauna in comparison with that from the past or from adjacent marine areas;
4. To stipulate some measures to prevent the pollution and to ameliorate man-made impact on marine ecosystems;
5. To elaborate some new approaches in the study of the fauna from rocky shores by implementing modern study techniques, such as the use of direct or observational sampling by SCUBA diving, scientific photography, strip census, area density survey etc.;
6. To apply statistical methods for analysis and treatment of data, such as the cluster analysis, the non-metric multidimensional scaling (nMDS), the analysis of variance (ANOVA), the correlation between organisms assemblages structure and environmental factors etc.;
7. To develop standard protocols for the study and monitoring of fauna from hard substrates at regional level;
8. To create a database regarding the biodiversity off Romanian Black Sea shelf;
9. To produce an illustrated catalogue of the most important species living on hard substrate

The research team

No. Surname and first name Year of birth Didactic /scientific title Doctorate
1 Surugiu Victor 1971 project coordinator / principal investigator YES
2 Novac Aliona 1977 experimented researcher YES
3 Micu Sanziana 1979 experimented researcher YES
4 Teaca Adrian 1977 experimented researcher YES
5 Begun Tania 1977 early stage researcher YES
6 Rosca Irina 1981 early stage researcher Candidate