The lake of Srebarna, situated in North-Eastern Bulgaria on the right bank of the Danube (44º 07 N, 27º 04 E; UTM grid NJ 08 и MGRS NJ0560085000) between the river kilometers 393 and 391, is located in a karstic depletion surrounded by three hills. A hyper-eutrophic lake, the Biosphere and Managed Reserve, is exclusive state property, and the adjoining land tracts are private property or municipal property. Commercial fishing and mowing of Reed, Reedmace and Bulrush in the Reserve was discontinued in 1975. Since then, the natural resources have not been exploited. The Srebarna Lake was designated as a Monument of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1983), UNESCO biosphere reserve (1977), Ramsar site (1975) and Important Bird Area (1989) because of its extremely rich ornithofauna and mainly because of the breeding of globally near threatened (NT, IUCN category) species Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and   Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca). In the 80s of the last century the lake ecosystem underwent significant changes towards strong eutrophication and anthropogenically speeded-up succession. The main reasons were the interrupted connection with the Danube River (because of a dyke built in 1948) together with the pumping-out of the underground waters, as well as the agricultural changes and activities in the watershed basin. The restoration activities carried out in 1993-1994 and especially the new build canal which connected the lake with the Danube lead to the beginning of lake recovery. All these events influenced the biodiversity of the reserve.

The Srebarna Biosphere Reserve vegetation, presented mainly by rooted hydrophytic, hygrophilic, hygromesophilic, mesophilic and mesoxerophilic communities (cenoses) plays a significant role in maintaining an optimum ecological balance of the aquatic and land ecosystems in the lake area. Habitat types according EUNIS includes: Surface standing waters (C1), Permanent eutrophic lakes, ponds and pools (C1.3), Littoral zone of inland surface waterbodies (C3), Species-rich helophyte beds (C3.1), Water-fringing reedbeds and tall helophytes other than canes (C3.2).


  • Available data

At the “Srebarna” site there is monitoring research (not every year) mainly to establish the changes in terrestrial and water communities and the ecological conditions necessary for their long-term conservation.

Hydrological and hydrobiological monitoring has been regularly performed in the period 1998-2006 including monthly registration of the water level, hydrochemical and production measurements as well as phytoplankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos, and fish sampling. The data for the water level of the lake is from 1991. The Dalmatian Pelican population in the nesting colony has been monitored annually since 1955, and the same monitoring procedures have been applied to the different bird species also breeding in heronry, since 1958 (also not every year). There are also observations on conservative significant and rare bird species breeding in the reserve.


  • Facilities

The Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IBER – BAS) dispose with Field Station and Laboratory and Education Centre in Srebarna Village in close proximity to the Srebarna Biosphere Reserve. In the Field Station and Laboratory are performing the hydrobiological, microbiological and ornithological studies. The exhibition in the Education Centre has three aquariums, 2 terrariums and posters. The field station is located in a house in the village of Srebarna (Silistra District). In the house there is 3 bedrooms, two kitchens, two bathrooms and a storage place. Near the house there is also a garden with some fruit trees and vegetables.

Equipment: laboratory microscopes equipped with camera for phytoplankton and zooplankton, plankton nets set, bottom samplers, plastic boat, computer configuration.


  • Research projects


  1. 2008 – 2012: Biological Diversity of Wetlands Aquatic Ecosystems on the Flooding Terrace of the Lower Danube and Optimization of the Ecosystem Functions in Conditions of Climatic Changes (National Science Fund under the Contract No DO 02-352/2008) – Project leader: Dr L. Pehlivanov
  2. 2009-2012: Biological diversity of aquatic ecosystems in wetlands of flood plain of the Lower Danube regarding optimization of ecosystem functions under global climate change. Funded by NSF (DО 02-352/2009). Leader: Dr L. Pehlivanov
  3. 2009-2012: WETLANET – Enhancing research potential by strengthening a local network of laboratories for studying wetland ecosystems functioning, restoration and management; funded by FP7 EC (FP7 CSA – SUPPORT ACTION, GA 229802). Coordinator: Prof. DSc B. Georgiev
  4. 2014-2015 г.: Updating the management plan for the Srebarna Managed Reserve and developing a management plan for the  Pelicanite Protected Area including all necessary geodezic surveys. Funded by Bulgarian Environment Operational Program (ОПОС-20-УПРР/17.04.2014). Coordinator from IBER-BAS: Prof. Dr Luchezar Pehlivanov.
  5. 2013-2015 г.: Comparison of “wetland – Danube River” systems in Hungary and Bulgaria in relation to their biodiversity, functioning, services, conservation and management. Project manager from Bulgaria: Prof. Dr Rumen Kalchev.


  • Main references


  1. Ihtimanska, M, Ilkova, J, Michailova, P. Biodiversity of family Chironomidae (Diptera) in Srebarna Lake (North-East Bulgaria) and genome instability of some species from genus Chironomus Meigen, 1803. Ecologia Balkanica, 2018, ISSN:1313-9940, SJR:0.123
  2. Borisova, P., Varadinova, E., Kerakova, M., Kazakov, S., Stoichev, S., Uzunov, Y., Pehlivanov, L. (2014) Seasonal changes in benthic communities of the Srebarna Lake (Northeast Bulgaria): habitat perspective. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica, 66(2): 239-245.
  3. Uzunov Y, Georgiev BB, Varadinoiva E, Ivanova N, Pehlivanov L, Vasilev V (Eds) (2012) Ecosystems of the Biosphere Reserve Srebarna Lake. Sofia, Professor Marin Drinov Academic Publishing House, vi + 218 pp ISBN 978-954-322-543-3
  4. Kraleva E., M. Pavlova, E. Mazo Bedia, P. Borisova, L. Pehlivanov (2012) Water quality of springs alongside Srebarna Lake: preliminary chemical analysis. Journal of Water Chemistry and Technology Volume 19 4, 639–647, ISSN 1898-6196, DOI: 10.2478/v10216-011-0046-3.
  5. Varadinova, E., Borisova P, Pehlivanov, L., Uzunov, Y. (2012) Macroinvertebrate communities of the Srebarna Lake Biosphere Reserve: Species diversity, abundance and modeling of the ecological status – In: Uzunov et al. (Eds) Ecosystems of the Biosphere Reserve Srebarna Lake, Sofia, Prof. Marin Drinov Academic Publishing House: 93-114.
  6. Kalchev R.K. V. P. Vasilev V. Tzavkova M. B. Beshkova. 2012. Changes of water transparency, plankton primary production and chlorophyll-a in the course of Srebarna Lake recovery_ In: Uzunov et al.(Editors) “Ecosystems of the Biosphere Reserve Srebarna Lake”, Professor Marin Drinov Academic Publishing House, Sofia 2012: 57-69
  7. Varadinova EB, Pechlivanov LZ, Stoichev SA, Uzunov YI (2011) Recovering and succession of the species diversity of macrozoobenthos in Srebarna Biosphere Reserve (North-East Bulgaria). Acta Zoologica Bulgarica 63(1): 85-95
  8. Shukerova, S, D. Kirin, V. Hanzelova (2010). Endohelminth communities of the perch, Perca fluviatilis (Perciformes, Percidae) from Srebarna Biosphere Reserve, Bulgaria. Helminthologia 42, 2, 99- 104 p.
  9. Beshkova M.B, Kalchev R.K.,.VasilevV, Tsvetkova R.L. 2008 Temporal and spatial changes of the phytoplankton abundance and structure in the Biosphere Reserve Srebarna (Northeastern Bulgaria) in relation to some environmental variables – Acta zool.bulg. 2, 165-174.
  10. Beshkova, M., R. Kalchev, L. Pehlivanov, V. Vassilev. Phytoplankton composition and abundance in Srebarna Lake and adjacent temporary wetlands (Bulgarian floodplain of the lower Danube River). In: 38th IAD Conference “Large River Basins – Danube meets Elbe. Challenges – Strategies – Solutions”, 22–25 June 2010, Dresden, Germany
  11. Michev, Т., N. Kambourova (compilers). 2012. Action Plan for the Conservation of Pelecanus crispus in Bulgaria 2013-2022 г. Sofia, MEW. Only in Bulgarian.
  12. Pehlivanov, L., Pavlova, M. (2009) State and succession of the ichthyofauna in the antropogenous modified environment of the Srebarna Lake (Danube floodplain, North-East Bulgaria). – Sc. Annals of DDI, vol. 15: 35-40.
  13. Kalchev R., V. Vasilev, G. Hiebaum, V. Tzavkova, L. Pehlivanov (2007) Recovery of the Srebarna Lake – experience and perspectives. – Journal of Balkan Ecology, 10(2): 117-130.
  14. Michev, T., B. B. Georgiev, A. V. Petrova & M. P. Stoyneva (Editors). 1998. Biodiversity of the Srebarna Biosphere Reserve. Checklist and bibliography. Sofia, Co-published by Context & Pensoft, ivx + 130 pp.
  15. Beshkova M., R. Kalchev, V. Vasilev, G. Hiebaum, V. Tzavkova, 2009. Changes of the phytoplankton assemblage and related characteristics in the Srebarna Lake (Northeastern Bulgaria) after restoration activities._In: COST action 869 “Mitigation options for nutrient reduction in surface water and groundwatres”, 06 – 08 May 2009 Keszthely, Hungary (
  16. Vasilev V., R. Vasilev, P. Yankov, N. Kamburova, Y. Uzunov, L. Pehlivanov, B. Georgiev, G. Popgeorgiev, B. Assyov, S. Avramov, R. Tsenova. National Plan for the Conservation of the Most Important Wetlands in Bulgaria 2013–2022. Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation,Sofia.


Responsible Institution:

Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Address: 2 Gagarin Street, 1113 Sofia, BULGARIA

Phone: +359 2 871 71 95 / +359 2 871 91 38

Fax: +359 2 870 54 98




Site coordinator:

Assoc. prof. Luchezar Pehlivanov, PhD


Deputy site coordinator:

Nevena Ivanova, PhD