The Black Sea site includes three areas: cape Kaliakra, cape Galata and Varna Bay (northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast), and Koketrays Sand bank (only for macrozoobenthos) – southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. They were chosen on the base of historical data availability and eutrophication/pollution impact.


  • The Kaliakra is part of the Natura 2000 site, BG0000573 “Kaliakra Complex”. Kaliakra marine area is influenced mainly by eutrophication due to the Danube river inflow. The local anthropogenic activities are insignificant, limited in the mussel aquaculture and the wind farms construction. It is a nature reserve since 1941 (updated with the Order of the Minister of Environment and Water ND-767 / 6.10.2014).The Kaliakra Reserve is the only Bulgarian reserve covering the sea area – a strip of 500 m wide and 8 km long, including the habitats of the extinct species of Monk seal in the Black Sea.


  • Cape Galata and Varna Bay – the site is exposed to long-term multiple pressure from local drivers as industry, tourism, port activities, urbanization, Varna Bay current and the system Beloslav Lake- Varna Lake – an example of a cascade, introducing nutrients and pollutants of industrial (chemical industry), agricultural and sewage origin and nearby ports. The bay is characterised by specific hydrological and hydrophysical regimes – shallow bottom, unlimited water exchange with the sea and a connection with Varna Lake, reflecting on the biota and biodiversity status.


  • Koketrays Sand bank, the second marine area declared ‘protected’, is a unique benthic habitat. Benthic communities are characterized with high diversity compared to nearby habitats of Burgas Bay silty mud. This area is an important region for bottom fish spawning. Priority conservation habitat types are available under the EU Habitats Directive (1110 Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time). An area of 760 ha was designated a protected area by an Order of the Minister ОСВ N РД-54/01.02.2001.


  • Metadata:


  • Available data

The main topics are marine biology and ecology study in coastal and shelf areas, long-term monitoring, implementation of WFD and MSFD, development of indicators and classification systems for the ecosystem state assessment in respect to European Directives concepts.

Systematic investigations of the Black Sea ecosystem in front of Bulgarian coast: Hydrophysical (Temeprature, Salinity); Hydrochemical (Oxygen,Nutrients); Hydrobiological (Phytoplankton, Chlorophyll а, Macrophytobenthos, Macrozoobenthos, Zooplankton, Molecular taxonomy).

  • Facilities

The center of the site is Institute of Oceanology – BAS, Varna, Bulgaria. Facilities in the Institute of Oceanology-BAS: Research vessel “Akademik” with chemical and biological laboratories on board; Laboratory of Marine Biology and Ecology, Laboratory of Molecular Taxonomy and Ecology, Laboratory of Marine Chemistry; Field and laboratory equipment.

  • Site related research projects and on-going collaborations

Research projects:

  1. Monitoring of coastal and marine waters according to WFD and MSFD requirements – Agreements with MoEW in the period 2012-2018.
  2. East and South European Network for Invasive Alien Species – A tool to support the management of alien species in Bulgaria, ESENIAS-TOOLS, Contract № Д-33-51/30.06.2015
  3. Phytoplankton cysts – coded “memory” and “potential” for biodiversity and blooms in the Black Sea, Scientific Research Fund, Contract № ДН01/8 /16.12.2016
  4. Integrated European infrastructure for long-term ecosystem and socio-ecological research eLTER Договор № 654359, финансиран по Програма Хоризонт 2020 на Европейската комисия
  5. EMODnet Seabed Habitats
  6. ISMEIMP, Investigations on the State of the Marine Environment and Improving Monitoring Programs developed under MSFD, Program BG02
  7. IRIS, FP 7 – Integrated Regional monitoring Implementation Strategy in the South European Seas, Contract No 07.0335/2013/659540/SUB/C2
  8. PERSEUS, FP7 – Policy – oriented marine Environmental Research in the Southern EUropean Seas, Contract No 287600
  9. DEVOTES, FP7 – DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine бiodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status,Contract No 308 392, 2012-2016
  10. CoCoNet, FP7 Towards COast to COast NETworks of marine protected areas ( from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential, Grant agreement №: 287844
  11. MISIS – MSFD, FP7 – Guiding Improvements in the Black Sea Integrated Monitoring System Grant agreement 07.020400/2012/616044/SUB/D2 FP7
  12. WISER, FP7 – Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery
  13. EC PHARE – Integral monitoring of Bulgarian Black sea costal zone Durankulak-Rezovo
  14. ARCАDIS Euroconsult – EVD Project “Support for BSBD for implementation of the Water Framework Directive, Bulgaria – Sediment composition, Phytoplankton, Chlorophyll “a”, Macrozoobenthos” – EVD Project/ ARCADIS Euroconsult
  15. Support to the Black Sea Basin Directorate for implementation of the Water Framework Directive, Bulgaria – Macrophytе study – EVD Project/ ARCADIS Euroconsult
  16. SESAME Integrated Project Southern European Seas: Assessing and modeling Ecosystem changes – 6 FP, EC
  17. MPAs The development of an indicative ecologically coherent network of sub-tidal Marine Protected Areas in Bulgaria and Romania – EUCC
  18. PLANCOAST Integrated Maritime Spatial Planning (Baltic, Adriatic and the Black Sea) – INTERREG III, CADSES
  19. TWReferenceNET Management and sustainable development of protected transitional waters – INTERREG III, B CADSES
  20. THRESHOLDS Thresholds of Environmental Sustainability – 6 FP, EC
  21. BLACK SEA SCENE Black Sea Scientific Network – 6 FP, EC
  22. ECOLAS – Evaluation of the impact from land-based activities on the marine & coastal environment, ecosystems & biodiversity in Bulgaria

On-going collaborations:

  1. EuroARGO – European infrastructure for Argo floats
  2. EUROFLEETS – Alliance of European research fleets
  3. JERICO – Joint European Research Infrastructure network for Coastal Observatory
  4. SeaDataNet – Pan-European infrastructure for ocean and marine data management
  5. PESI- A Pan-European Species Directories Infrastructure
  6. IPBES – Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
  7. EMODNet – The European Marine Observation and Data Network
  8. ODINBLACKSEA – Ocean Data and Information Network for the Black Sea Region


  • Main references
  1. BSC, 2008. State of the Environment of the Black Sea (2001-2006/7). Edited by Temel Oguz. Publications of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (BSC) 2008-3, Istanbul, Turkey, 448 pp.
  2. Chartosia, N., Anastasiadis, D., Bazairi, H., Crocetta, F., Deidun, A., Despalatović, M., Di Martino, V., Dimitriou, N., Dragičević, B., Dulčić, J., Durucan, F., Hasbek, D., Ketsilis-Rinis, V., Kleitou, P., Lipej, L., Macali, A., Marchini, A., Ousselam, M., Piraino, S., Stancanelli, B., Theodosiou, M., Tiralongo, F., Todorova, V., Trkov, D., Yapici, S.. New mediterranean biodiversity records (July 2018). Mediterranean Marine Science, 19, 2, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 2018, ISSN:1108393X, 398-415. DOI: 10.12681/mms.18099
  3. Doncheva V., O. Hristova, B. Djurova, , E. Trifonova, V. Todorova. Organic enrichment in the bulgarian black sea coastal sediments based on geochemical indicators,. 2018, ISSN:1314 – 0957, 186-194
  4. Doncheva, V., Todorova, V., Valchev, N., Teaca, A., Muresan, M., Populus, J., Vasquez, M., Manca, E.. Mapping seabed habitats in EMODnet – the Black Sea case. Proc. of 14th Int. Conf. on Marine Sciences and Technologies – Black Sea’2018, Varna, Bulgaria, 2018, ISSN:1314 – 0957, 239-24. DOI:10.7546/IO.BAS.2018.3
  5. Dzhembekova, N., Urusizaki, S., Moncheva, S., Ivanova, P., Nagai, S.. 2017. Applicability of massively parallel sequencing on monitoring harmful algae at Varna Bay in the Black Sea. Harmful Algae, 68, 2017, 40-51. DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2017.07.004
  6. Ivanov, L, Konovalov, S, Melnikov, V, Mikaelyan, A, Yunev, O, Basturk, O, Belokopytov, V, Besiktepe, S, Bodeanu, N, Bologa, A, Cociasu, A, Diakonu, V, Kamburska, L, Kideys, A, Mankovsky, V, Moncheva, S, Nezlin, N, Niermann, U, Petranu, A, Shalovenkov, N, Shuskina, E, Salihoglu, I, Senichkina, L, Uysal, Z, Vedernikov, V, Yakubenko, V, Yakushev, E, Yilmaz A., 1998. Physical, chemical and biological data sets of the TU Black Sea Data Base: Description and evaluation.. ECOSYSTEM MODELING AS A MANAGEMENT TOOL FOR THE BLACK SEA,, VOL 1, 47, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 11-37
  7. Ivanova, P. P., Trayanova, A., Stefanova, K., Stefanova,E., Raykov, V., Doncheva, V.. Population status of some alien species in Varna Bay,Bulgarian Black Sea coast (2015-2016). Acta zoologica bulgarica, 9, 2017, ISSN:0324-0770, 73-83.
  8. Jaspers C., Huwer B., Antajan E., Hosia A., Hinrichsen H., Biastoch A., Angel D., Asmus R., Augustin C., Bagheri S., Beggs S. E., Balsby T. J. S., Boersma M., Bonnet D., Christensen J. T., Dänhardt A., Delpy F., Falkenhaug T., Finenko G., Fleming N. E. C., Fuentes V., Galil B., Gittenberger A., Griffin D. C., Haslob H., Javidpour J., Kamburska L., Kube S., Langenberg V. T., Lehtiniemi M., Lombard F., Malzahn A., Marambio M., Mihneva V., Mihneva V., Niermann U., Isinibilir M., Zekiye O., Özdemir B., Pitois S., Reusch T. B. H, Robbens J., Stefanova K., Thibault D., Veer H. W. van der, Vansteenbrugge L., Walraven L., Woźniczka A.. Ocean current connectivity propelling the secondary spread of a marine invasive comb jelly across western Eurasia.. Global Ecology and Biogeography, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2018, ISSN:1466-8238, 1-14. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12742
  9. Kamburska L., Shiganova T., Stefanova K., Moncheva S., Dowell M., 2006. Interannual variations in the summer distribution of the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi A. Agassiz in the Black Sea, Proceedings of the Workshop on “Understanding and modelling the Black Sea ecosystem in support of marine conventions and environmental policies”, A. K. Stips, W. Schrimpf [Eds.], EUR 22176 EN, 8-14.
  10. Konsulova, Ts., Tasev V., Todorova V., Konsulov A. 2003, “The Effect of Bottom Trawling on mussel beds along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.” Proc. Second Int. Conf. “Oceanography of the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea: Similarities and Differences of Two Interconnected Basins”, Tubitak Publ., (Ed. A. Yilmaz), pp. 888-896.
  11. Langmead O., McQuatters-Gollop A., Mee L.D., Friedrich J., G, Todorova V. Recovery or decline of the Black Sea: A societal choice revealed by socio-ecological modelling. Ecological Modelling, 220, 21, 2009, ISSN:0403-3800, 2927-2939 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2008.09.011
  12. Moncheva S., Gotsis-Skretas O., Pagou K., Krastev A., 2001. Phytoplankton Blooms in Black Sea and Mediterranean Coastal Ecosystems subjected to Anthropogenic Eutrophication: similarities and differences. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (2001) 53, 281-295. DOI: 10.1006/ecss.2001.0767
  13. Moncheva S., Doncheva V., Kamburska L., 2001. On the long-term response of harmful algal blooms to the evolution of eutrophication off the Bulgarian Black Sea coast: are the recent changes a sign of recovery of the ecosystem the uncertainties. In: Proceedings of IX International conference on “Harmful Algal Blooms”, Hobart, Tasmania; G.M.Hallegraff et al., Eds. (UNESCO-IOC, Paris, 2001), pp. 177-182.
  14. Moncheva S., Dontcheva V., Shtereva G., Kamburska L., Malej A., Gorinstein S., 2001. Application of eutrophication indices for assessment of the Bulgarian Black Sea coastal ecosystem ecological quality. III Black Sea Int. Conf. Environmental Protection technologies for coastal areas, Varna, Bulgaria, Book of Proceedings, 71-82
  15. Moncheva S., Gorinstein Sh., Shtereva G., Katrich E., Toledo F., Arancibia P., Goshev I. and S. Trakhtenberg, 2003. Seasonal variability of phytoplankton in Varna Bay. Phytochemical Analysis, 14, 245-250. DOI: 10.1002/pca.711
  16. Moncheva I., S. Moncheva, N. Slabakova, V. Alexandrova, V. Doncheva, 2008. Tourism Industry Impacts on the Black Sea Ecosystem along the Bulgarian Coast -“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, In: Proceeding of 1st Biannual Scientific Conference “Black Sea Ecosystem 2005 and Beyond”, 8-10 May 2006, Istanbul, Turkey, 1022-1036.
  17. Moncheva S., Racheva E., Kamburska L., D’Hernoncourt J., 2012. Environmental and management constraints on tourism in Varna Bay, Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Ecology and Society 17(3): 35. DOI: 10.5751/ES-05107-170335
  18. Moncheva S., Stefanova K, Doncheva V. Hristova O., Dzhurova B., Racheva E., 2015. Plankton indicators to inform Eutrophication Management. Proceedings of Twelfth International Conference on the Mediterranean coastal environment. MEDCOAST, Mediterranean Coastal Foundation, 351-362
  19. Moncheva, S., Stefanova, K., Doncheva, V., Slabakova, N. Mavrodieva, R., 2012. Plankton features for assessment of western Black Sea ecosystem. Proceedings of eleventh international conference on marine science and technologies. “Black Sea’ 2012”, October 4th-6th, Varna, Bulgaria, 74-81. ISSN 1314-0957
  20. Moncheva S., Todorova V., et. al. 2013. Initial assessment of the marine environment – Bulgaria in art. 8 of MSFD 2008/56/EC and NOOSMV (2010)
  21. Piontkovski S.A., Fonda-Umani S., Stefanova K., Kamburska L., De Olazabal A., 2011 An Impact of Atmospheric Anomalies on Zooplankton Communities in the Northern Adriatic and Black Seas. International Journal of Oceans and Oceanography ISSN 0973-2667 Volume 5, Number 1, pp. 53-71
  22. Prodanov K., S. Moncheva, A. Konsulov, L. Kamburska, Ts. Konsulova, K. Dencheva. 2001. Recent ecosystem trends along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Proceedings of Institute of Oceanology, IO-BAS, v.3, 110-127.
  23. Stefanova K., V. Todorova, L. Kamburska, K. Dencheva, 2005 – “The Black Sea ecosystem in front of Bulgarian coast – research review and contemporary state”. Petrova A. (Ed.) “Recent state of biodiversity in Bulgaria – problems and perspectives”, 447-468, Bulgarian Bioplatform, Sofia (in Bulgarian).
  24. Strong J., Andonegi E., Bizsel K. C., Danovaro R., Elliott M., Franco A., Garces E., Little S., Mazik K., Moncheva S., Papadopoulou N., Patrício J., Queiros M., Smith C., Stefanova K., Solaun O., 2015. Marine biodiversity and ecosystem function relationships. The potential for practical monitoring applications.. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 161, ELSEVIER. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2015.04.008
  25. Todorova V., Konsulova Ts., 2003. Community pattern and differentiation of soft sediments macrofauna of the Bulgarian Black Sea shelf. Acta zoologica bulgarica, 55 (3), 81-96.
  26. Todorova V., Konsulova Ts., 2008. Ecological State Assessment of Zoobenthic Communities on the North-Western Black Sea Shelf – the Performance of Multivariate.
  27. Velikova V., Moncheva S., Petrova D., 1999. Phytoplankton dynamics and red tides (1987–1997) in the Bulgarian Black Sea. Water Science and Technology, 39 (8), 27-36. DOI: 10.1016/S0273-1223(99)00184-5
  28. Yunev O,,, J. Carstensen, S. Moncheva, A. Khaliulin,, G. Ærtebjerg,, S. Nixon. Nutrient and phytoplankton trends on the western Black Sea shelf in response to cultural eutrophication and climate changes.. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 74, ISSN:0272-7714, 63-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2007.03.030


Responsible Institution:

Institute of Oceanology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Address: Parvi mai Str. 40, 9000 Varna, BULGARIA

Phone: +35952370484

Fax: +35952370483



Site coordinator:

Assoc. prof. Kremena Stefanova, PhD