Ecological State of the Water Area in the Fresh Water – Saline Water Mixing Zone in Spring (the River Chernaya Estuary – Sevastopol Bay, Black Sea)

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 A. O. Kovalevsky Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas of Russian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol, Russian Federation

2 Marine Hydrophysical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol, Russian Federation


The paper provides data on spatial distribution of petroleum hydrocarbons, heterotrophic and hydrocarbon-oxidizing bacteria in water and bottom sediments as well as on heavy metals in bottom sediments at different sites in the zone of fresh and saline water mixing, with the salinity range 1–18 ‰ during spring low water and high water. Physical and chemical characteristics of the bottom sediments are given. The highest hydrocarbon-oxidizing bacteria percentage of the heterotrophic bacterioplankton count in the indicated areas was found in April, with the maximum of 55 % determined in the transition zone waters. The share of hydrocarbon-oxidizing bacteria in the heterotrophic bacteria abundance in the water was larger than that in the bottom sediments. The highest concentrations of chloroform-extractable substances and petroleum hydrocarbons were detected in the marine zone bottom sediments, and their lowest concentrations were found in the river zone. During the period under study, the petroleum hydrocarbon input (in almost equal volumes) was constant, which is indicated by the hydrocarbon percentage of chloroform-extractable substances, which on average was 31 % for the marine zone, 29 % for the transitional zone, and 32 % for the river zone. In contrast to the river and transition zones, the concentration of chloroform-extractable substances observed in the marine zone bottom sediments was constant.


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