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The Black Sea
Black Sea
is a body of water and marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean
Ocean
between Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Western Asia.[1] It is supplied by a number of major rivers, such as the Danube, Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, Don, and the Rioni. About a third of Europe drains into the Black Sea,[2] including the countries of Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey
Turkey
and Ukraine. The Black Sea
Black Sea
has an area of 436,400 km2 (168,500 sq mi) (not including the Sea of Azov),[3] a maximum depth of 2,212 m (7,257 ft),[4] and a volume of 547,000 km3 (131,000 cu mi).[5] It is constrained by the Pontic Mountains
Pontic Mountains
to the south, Caucasus
Caucasus
Mountains to the east, Crimean Mountains
Crimean Mountains
to the north, Strandzha
Strandzha
to the southwest, Dobrogea Plateau to the northwest, and features a wide shelf to the northwest. The longest east-west extent is about 1,175 km (730 mi). Important cities along the coast include Batumi, Burgas, Constanța, Giresun, Istanbul, Kerch, Novorossiysk, Odessa, Ordu, Poti, Rize, Samsun, Sevastopol, Sochi, Sukhumi, Trabzon, Varna, Yalta, and Zonguldak. The Black Sea
Black Sea
has a positive water balance; that is, a net outflow of water 300 km3 (72 cu mi) per year through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
into the Aegean Sea. Mediterranean
Mediterranean
water flows into the Black Sea
Black Sea
as part of a two-way hydrological exchange. The Black Sea
Black Sea
outflow is cooler and less saline, and floats over the warm, more saline Mediterranean
Mediterranean
inflow – as a result of differences in density caused by differences in salinity – leading to a significant anoxic layer well below the surface waters. The Black Sea
Black Sea
drains into the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea, via the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
and various straits, and is navigable to the Atlantic Ocean. The Bosphorus
Bosphorus
Strait
Strait
connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the Strait
Strait
of the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
connects that sea to the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate Eastern Europe, the Caucasus
Caucasus
and Western Asia. The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
by the Strait
Strait
of Kerch. The water level has varied significantly. Due to these variations in the water level in the basin, the surrounding shelf and associated aprons have sometimes been land. At certain critical water levels it is possible for connections with surrounding water bodies to become established. It is through the most active of these connective routes, the Turkish Straits, that the Black Sea
Black Sea
joins the world ocean. When this hydrological link is not present, the Black Sea
Black Sea
is an endorheic basin, operating independently of the global ocean system, like the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
for example. Currently the Black Sea
Black Sea
water level is relatively high, thus water is being exchanged with the Mediterranean. The Turkish Straits
Turkish Straits
connect the Black Sea
Black Sea
with the Aegean Sea, and comprise the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
and the Dardanelles.

Contents

1 Extent 2 Population 3 Name

3.1 Modern names 3.2 Historical names and etymology

4 Geology and bathymetry 5 Hydrology 6 Hydrochemistry 7 Ecology

7.1 Marine

7.1.1 Phytoplankton 7.1.2 Animal species 7.1.3 Ecological effects of pollution

7.2 Terrestrial

8 Climate 9 Islands 10 History

10.1 Mediterranean
Mediterranean
connection during the Holocene

10.1.1 Deluge hypothesis

10.2 Recorded history 10.3 Archaeology

11 Modern use

11.1 Commercial and civic use

11.1.1 Navigation

11.1.1.1 Ports and ferry terminals 11.1.1.2 Merchant fleet and traffic

11.1.2 Fishing 11.1.3 Hydrocarbons exploration 11.1.4 Holiday resorts and spas

11.2 Modern military use

11.2.1 International and military use of the Straits

12 Trans-sea cooperation 13 See also 14 References 15 External links

Extent[edit] The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
defines the limits of the Black Sea
Black Sea
as follows:[6]

On the Southwest. The Northeastern limit of the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
[A line joining Cape Rumili
Cape Rumili
with Cape Anatoli
Cape Anatoli
(41°13'N)].

In the Kertch Strait. A line joining Cape Takil and Cape Panaghia (45°02'N).

Population[edit]

Most populous urban areas along the Black Sea
Black Sea
coastline

Istanbul

Odessa

Rank City Country Region/County Population (urban)

Samsun

Constanța

1 Istanbul Turkey Istanbul 14,324,240[7]

2 Odessa Ukraine Odessa 1,003,705

3 Samsun Turkey Samsun 535,401[8]

4 Constanța Romania Constanța 491,498[9]

5 Varna Bulgaria Varna 474,076

6 Sevastopol Ukraine national-level municipality on the Crimean Peninsula 379,200

7 Sochi Russia Krasnodar Krai 343,334

8 Trabzon Turkey Trabzon 305,231[10]

9 Novorossiysk Russia Krasnodar Krai 241,952

10 Burgas Bulgaria Burgas 223,902[11]

11 Batumi Georgia Adjara 190,405[12]

Name[edit]

Sunset on the Black Sea
Black Sea
at Laspi, Crimea

The estuary of the Veleka
Veleka
in the Black Sea. Longshore drift
Longshore drift
has deposited sediment along the shoreline which has led to the formation of a spit, Sinemorets, Bulgaria

The Black Sea
Black Sea
near Constanţa, Romania

Modern names[edit] Current names of the sea are usually equivalents of the English name "Black Sea", including these given in the countries bordering the sea:[13]

Abkhaz language
Abkhaz language
Амшын Еиқәа, IPA: [ɑmʂɨn ɛjkʷʰɑ] Adyghe language
Adyghe language
Хы шӏуцӏэ, IPA: [xə ʃʼəw.t͡sʼa] Bulgarian language
Bulgarian language
Черно море, IPA: [ˈtʃɛrno moˈrɛ] Crimean Tatar language
Crimean Tatar language
Къара денъиз, IPA: [qɑrɑ deŋiz] Georgian language
Georgian language
შავი ზღვა, IPA: [ʃɑvi zɣvɑ] Laz and Mingrelian languages - უჩა ზუღა, IPA: [utʃɑ zuɣɑ], or simply ზუღა, IPA: [zuɣɑ], "Sea" Romanian language
Romanian language
Marea Neagră, (pronounced [ˈmare̯a ˈne̯aɡrə] ( listen) Russian language
Russian language
Чёрное мо́рe, IPA: [ˈtɕornəjə ˈmorʲə] Turkish language
Turkish language
Karadeniz, IPA: [kaˈɾadeniz] Ukrainian language
Ukrainian language
Чорне море, IPA: [ˈtʃɔrnɛ ˈmɔrɛ]

Such names have not yet been shown conclusively to predate the 13th century,[14] but there are indications that they may be considerably older.[citation needed] In Greece, the historical name "Euxine Sea", which holds a different meaning (see below), is still widely used:

Greek language
Greek language
Éfxeinos Póntos (Eύξεινος Πόντος); the literal Mavri Thalassa (Μαύρη Θάλασσα) is less common

The Black Sea
Black Sea
is one of four seas named in English after common colour terms—the others being the Red Sea, the White Sea
White Sea
and the Yellow Sea. Historical names and etymology[edit] The principal Greek name "Póntos Áxeinos" itself is generally accepted to be a rendering of Iranian *axšaina- (“dark colored”), cf. Avestan axšaēna- (“dark colored”), Old Persian axšaina- (color of turquoise), Middle Persian
Middle Persian
axšēn/xašēn ("blue"), and New Persian xašīn ("blue"), as well as Ossetic œxsīn (“dark gray").[14] The ancient Greeks subsequently adopted the name, reportedly in all likelihood those who lived to the north of the Black Sea, and altered it into á-xe(i)nos.[14] Thereafter, Greek tradition refers to the Black Sea
Black Sea
as the "Inhospitable Sea", Πόντος Ἄξεινος Póntos Áxeinos, first attested in Pindar (c. 475 BC).[14] The name, considered to be "ominous", was then later changed into the euphemism "Hospitable sea", Εὔξεινος Πόντος Eúxeinos Póntos, which was also for the first time attested in Pindar.[14] This became the commonly used designation in Greek for the sea.[14] In contexts related to mythology, the older form "Póntos Áxeinos" remained favored.[14] Previously, it was erroneously suggested that the name had to be derived from the color of the water, or at least were to be related to climatic particulars.[14] Black (or dark), in this context however, referred to a system in which colors represented the various "cardinal points" of the known world.[14] Black, or dark represented the north, red the south, white for the west, and green or light blue for the east.[14] This symbolism based on cardinal points was used in a plethora of different occasions, and is therefore widely attested.[14] For example, the "Red Sea", a body of water reported since the time of Herodotus
Herodotus
(c. 484–c. 425 BC) in fact designated the Indian Ocean, together with bodies of water known as the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
and the "actual" Red Sea.[14] According to the same explanation and reasoning, it is therefore considered to be impossible for the Scythians
Scythians
(who principally roamed in what is present-day Ukraine
Ukraine
and Russia) to have given the designation as they lived to the north of the sea, and it would be therefore a southern antipodal body of water for them.[14] As the name could have only been given by a people that were well aware of both the northern "black/dark" and southern "red" seas, it is therefore considered probable that it was given its name by the Achaemenids (550–330 BC).[14] Strabo's Geographica
Geographica
(1.2.10) reports that in antiquity, the Black Sea was often just called "the Sea" (ὁ πόντος ho pontos). He also thought that the Black Sea
Black Sea
was called "inhospitable" before Greek colonization because it was difficult to navigate, and because its shores were inhabited by savage tribes.(7.3.6) The name was changed to "hospitable" after the Milesians had colonized the southern shoreline, the Pontus, making it part of Greek civilization. In Greater Bundahishn, a sacred Zoroastrian text written in Middle Persian the Black Sea
Black Sea
is called Siyābun.[15] A map of Asia dating to 1570, entitled "Asiae Nova Descriptio", from Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, labels the sea Mar Maggior ("Great Sea", cf. Latin mare major). English-language writers of the 18th century often used the name "Euxine Sea" (/ˈjuːksɪn/ or /ˈjuːkˌsaɪn/) to refer to the Black Sea. Edward Gibbon, for instance, calls the sea by this name throughout The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.[16] During the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
period, the Black Sea
Black Sea
was called either Bahr-e Siyah or Karadeniz, both meaning "the Black Sea" in the Ottoman Turkish. It is worthy to note, that in the tenth-century geography book Hudud al-'Alam, written in the Persian language by an unknown author, the Black Sea
Black Sea
is called "Georgian Sea", "Sea of Georgians" ("daryä-yi Gurziyan"). Old Georgian sources of 9th–14th centuries ("The Georgian Chronicles") were using the name "Speris Zğua" (სპერის ზღუა), which means "The Sea of Speri", after the name of Kartvelian tribe Speris or Saspers, now in Turkey. The modern names of the Black Sea
Black Sea
(Chyornoye more, Karadeniz, etc.), stretch only back to the 13th century.[14] Geology and bathymetry[edit]

The bay of Sudak, Crimea

The geological origins of the basin can be traced back to two distinct relict back-arc basins which were initiated by the splitting of an Albian
Albian
volcanic arc and the subduction of both the Paleo- and Neo-Tethys Oceans, but the timings of these events remain controversial.[17][18] Since its initiation, compressional tectonic environments led to subsidence in the basin, interspersed with extensional phases resulting in large-scale volcanism and numerous orogenies, causing the uplift of the Greater Caucasus, Pontides, Southern Crimean Peninsula
Crimean Peninsula
and Balkanides mountain ranges.[19] The ongoing collision between the Eurasian and African plates and westward escape of the Anatolian block along the North Anatolian Fault and East Anatolian Faults dictates the current tectonic regime,[19] which features enhanced subsidence in the Black Sea
Black Sea
basin and significant volcanic activity in the Anatolian region.[20] It is these geological mechanisms which, in the long term, have caused the periodic isolations of the Black Sea
Black Sea
from the rest of the global ocean system. The modern basin is divided into two sub-basins by a convexity extending south from the Crimean Peninsula. The large shelf to the north of the basin is up to 190 km (120 mi) wide, and features a shallow apron with gradients between 1:40 and 1:1000. The southern edge around Turkey
Turkey
and the eastern edge around Georgia, however, are typified by a narrow shelf that rarely exceeds 20 km (12 mi) in width and a steep apron that is typically 1:40 gradient with numerous submarine canyons and channel extensions. The Euxine abyssal plain
Euxine abyssal plain
in the centre of the Black Sea
Black Sea
reaches a maximum depth of 2,212 metres (7,257.22 feet) just south of Yalta
Yalta
on the Crimean Peninsula.[21] The littoral zone of the Black Sea
Black Sea
is often referred to as the Pontic littoral or Pontic zone.[22] The area surrounding the Black Sea
Black Sea
is commonly referred to as the Black Sea
Black Sea
Region. Its northern part lies within the Chernozem
Chernozem
belt (black soil belt) which goes from eastern Croatia
Croatia
(Slavonia), along the Danube
Danube
(northern Serbia, northern Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(Danubian Plain) and southern Romania
Romania
(Wallachian Plain)) to northeast Ukraine
Ukraine
and further across the Central Black Earth Region
Central Black Earth Region
and southern Russia
Russia
into Siberia.[23] Hydrology[edit]

This SeaWiFS
SeaWiFS
view reveals the colourful interplay of currents on the sea's surface

The Black Sea
Black Sea
is a marginal sea[24] and is the world's largest body of water with a meromictic basin.[25] The deep waters do not mix with the upper layers of water that receive oxygen from the atmosphere. As a result, over 90% of the deeper Black Sea
Black Sea
volume is anoxic water.[26] The Black Sea's circulation patterns are primarily controlled by basin topography and fluvial inputs, which result in a strongly stratified vertical structure. Because of the extreme stratification, it is classified as a salt wedge estuary. The Black Sea
Black Sea
only experiences water transfer with the Mediterranean Sea, so all inflow and outflow occurs in the Bosphorus
Bosphorus
and Dardanelles. Inflow from the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
has a higher salinity and density than the outflow, creating the classical estuarine circulation. This means that inflow of dense water from the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
occurs at the bottom of the basin while outflow of fresher Black Sea
Black Sea
surface-water into the Marmara Sea
Marmara Sea
occurs near the surface. Fresher surface water is the product of the fluvial inputs, and this makes the Black Sea
Black Sea
a positive sea. The net input of freshwater creates an outflow volume about twice that of the inflow. Evaporation and precipitation are roughly equal at about 300 cubic kilometres per year (72 cu mi/a).[24] Because of the narrowness and shallowness of the Bosphorus
Bosphorus
and Dardanelles
Dardanelles
(their respective depths are only 33 and 70 meters), inflow and outflow current speeds are high and there is significant vertical shear. This allows for turbulent mixing of the two layers.[24] Surface water leaves the Black Sea
Black Sea
with a salinity of 17 psu and reaches the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
with a salinity of 34 psu. Likewise, inflow of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
with salinity 38.5 psu experiences a decrease to about 34 psu.[24] Mean surface circulation is cyclonic and waters around the perimeter of the Black Sea
Black Sea
circulate in a basin-wide shelfbreak gyre known as the Rim Current. The Rim Current has a maximum velocity of about 50–100 cm/s. Within this feature, two smaller cyclonic gyres operate, occupying the eastern and western sectors of the basin.[24] The Eastern and Western Gyres are well-organized systems in the winter but dissipate into a series of interconnected eddies in the summer and autumn. Mesoscale activity in the peripheral flow becomes more pronounced during these warmer seasons and is subject to interannual variability. Outside of the Rim Current, numerous quasi-permanent coastal eddies are formed as a result of upwelling around the coastal apron and "wind curl" mechanisms. The intra-annual strength of these features is controlled by seasonal atmospheric and fluvial variations. During the spring, the Batumi
Batumi
eddy forms in the southeastern corner of the sea.[27] Beneath the surface waters—from about 50–100 meters—there exists a halocline that stops at the Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL). This layer is composed of cool, salty surface waters, which are the result of localized atmospheric cooling and decreased fluvial input during the winter months. It is the remnant of the winter surface mixed layer.[24] The base of the CIL is marked by a major pycnocline at about 100–200 metres (330–660 ft) and this density disparity is the major mechanism for isolation of the deep water. Below the pycnocline is the Deep Water mass, where salinity increases to 22.3 psu and temperatures rise to around 8.9 °C.[24] The hydrochemical environment shifts from oxygenated to anoxic, as bacterial decomposition of sunken biomass utilizes all of the free oxygen. Weak geothermal heating and long residence time create a very thick convective bottom layer.[27] Hydrochemistry[edit] Because of the anoxic water at depth, organic matter, including anthropogenic artifacts such as boat hulls, are well preserved. During periods of high surface productivity, short-lived algal blooms form organic rich layers known as sapropels. Scientists have reported an annual phytoplankton bloom that can be seen in many NASA images of the region.[28] As a result of these characteristics the Black Sea
Black Sea
has gained interest from the field of marine archaeology as ancient shipwrecks in excellent states of preservation have been discovered, such as the Byzantine
Byzantine
wreck Sinop D, located in the anoxic layer off the coast of Sinop, Turkey. Modelling shows the release of the hydrogen sulfide clouds in the event of an asteroid impact into the Black Sea
Black Sea
would pose a threat to health—or even life—for people living on the Black Sea
Black Sea
coast.[29] There have been isolated reports of flares on the Black Sea
Black Sea
occurring during thunderstorms, possibly caused by lightning igniting combustible gas seeping up from the sea depths.[30] Ecology[edit] Marine[edit] See also: List of fish of the Black Sea

The port of Poti, Georgia

The Black Sea
Black Sea
supports an active and dynamic marine ecosystem, dominated by species suited to the brackish, nutrient-rich, conditions. As with all marine food webs, the Black Sea
Black Sea
features a range of trophic groups, with autotrophic algae, including diatoms and dinoflagellates, acting as primary producers. The fluvial systems draining Eurasia and central Europe introduce large volumes of sediment and dissolved nutrients into the Black Sea, but distribution of these nutrients is controlled by the degree of physiochemical stratification, which is, in turn, dictated by seasonal physiographic development.[31] During winter, strong wind promotes convective overturning and upwelling of nutrients, while high summer temperatures result in a marked vertical stratification and a warm, shallow mixed layer.[32] Day length and insolation intensity also controls the extent of the photic zone. Subsurface productivity is limited by nutrient availability, as the anoxic bottom waters act as a sink for reduced nitrate, in the form of ammonia. The benthic zone also plays an important role in Black Sea
Black Sea
nutrient cycling, as chemosynthetic organisms and anoxic geochemical pathways recycle nutrients which can be upwelled to the photic zone, enhancing productivity.[33] In total, Black Sea's biodiversity contains around one-third of Mediterranean's, and is experiencing natural and artificial invasions or Mediterranizations.[34][35] Phytoplankton[edit]

Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton
blooms and plumes of sediment form the bright blue swirls that ring the Black Sea
Black Sea
in this 2004 image

The main phytoplankton groups present in the Black Sea
Black Sea
are dinoflagellates, diatoms, coccolithophores and cyanobacteria. Generally, the annual cycle of phytoplankton development comprises significant diatom and dinoflagellate-dominated spring production, followed by a weaker mixed assemblage of community development below the seasonal thermocline during summer months and a surface-intensified autumn production.[32][36] This pattern of productivity is also augmented by an Emiliania huxleyi
Emiliania huxleyi
bloom during the late spring and summer months.

Dinoflagellates

Annual dinoflagellate distribution is defined by an extended bloom period in subsurface waters during the late spring and summer. In November, subsurface plankton production is combined with surface production, due to vertical mixing of water masses and nutrients such as nitrite.[31] The major bloom-forming dinoflagellate species in the Black Sea
Black Sea
is Gymnodinium
Gymnodinium
sp.[37] Estimates of dinoflagellate diversity in the Black Sea
Black Sea
range from 193[38] to 267 species.[39] This level of species richness is relatively low in comparison to the Mediterranean Sea, which is attributable to the brackish conditions, low water transparency and presence of anoxic bottom waters. It is also possible that the low winter temperatures below 4 °C (39 °F) of the Black Sea
Black Sea
prevent thermophilous species from becoming established. The relatively high organic matter content of Black Sea
Black Sea
surface water favour the development of heterotrophic (an organism which uses organic carbon for growth) and mixotrophic dinoflagellates species (able to exploit different trophic pathways), relative to autotrophs. Despite its unique hydrographic setting, there are no confirmed endemic dinoflagellate species in the Black Sea.[39]

Diatoms

The Black Sea
Black Sea
is populated by many species of marine diatom, which commonly exist as colonies of unicellular, non-motile auto- and heterotrophic algae. The life-cycle of most diatoms can be described as 'boom and bust' and the Black Sea
Black Sea
is no exception, with diatom blooms occurring in surface waters throughout the year, most reliably during March.[31] In simple terms, the phase of rapid population growth in diatoms is caused by the in-wash of silicon-bearing terrestrial sediments, and when the supply of silicon is exhausted, the diatoms begin to sink out of the photic zone and produce resting cysts. Additional factors such as predation by zooplankton and ammonium-based regenerated production also have a role to play in the annual diatom cycle.[31][32] Typically, Proboscia alata blooms during spring and Pseudosolenia calcar-avis blooms during the autumn.[37]

Coccolithophores

Coccolithophores
Coccolithophores
are a type of motile, autotrophic phytoplankton that produce CaCO3 plates, known as coccoliths, as part of their life cycle. In the Black Sea, the main period of coccolithophore growth occurs after the bulk of the dinoflagellate growth has taken place. In May, the dinoflagellates move below the seasonal thermocline, into deeper waters, where more nutrients are available. This permits coccolithophores to utilise the nutrients in the upper waters, and by the end of May, with favourable light and temperature conditions, growth rates reach their highest. The major bloom forming species is Emiliania huxleyi, which is also responsible for the release of dimethyl sulfide into the atmosphere. Overall, coccolithophore diversity is low in the Black Sea, and although recent sediments are dominated by E. huxleyi, Braarudosphaera bigelowii, Holocene
Holocene
sediments have also been shown to contain Helicopondosphaera and Discolithina species.

Cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria
Cyanobacteria
are a phylum of picoplanktonic (plankton ranging in size from 0.2 to 2.0 µm) bacteria that obtain their energy via photosynthesis, and are present throughout the world's oceans. They exhibit a range of morphologiies, including filamentous colonies and biofilms. In the Black Sea, several species are present, and as an example, Synechococcus spp. can be found throughout the photic zone, although concentration decreases with increasing depth. Other factors which exert an influence on distribution include nutrient availability, predation and salinity.[40]

Animal species[edit]

Zebra mussel

The Black Sea
Black Sea
along with the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
is part of the Zebra mussel's native range. The mussel has been accidentally introduced around the world and become an invasive species where it has been introduced.

Common Carp

The Common Carp's native range extends to The Black Sea
Black Sea
along with the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
and Aral Sea. Like the Zebra mussel
Zebra mussel
the Common Carp
Common Carp
is an invasive species when introduced to other habitats.

Round Goby

Is another native fish that is also found in the Caspian Sea. It preys upon Zebra mussels. Like the mussels and common carp it has become invasive when introduced to other environments, like the Great Lakes.

Marine Mammals and marine megafaunas

Marine mammals present within the basin include two species of dolphins (common[41] and bottlenose[42]) and harbour porpoise[43] inhabit the sea although all of these are endangered due to pressures and impacts by human activities. All the three species have been classified as a distinct subspecies from those in the Mediterranean and in Atlantic Seas and endemic to Black and Azov Seas, and are more active during nights in Turkish Straits.[44] However, construction of the Kerch
Kerch
Strait
Strait
Bridge caused increases in nutrients and planktons in the waters, attracting large numbers of fish and more than 1,000 of bottlenose dolphins.[45] On the other hand, however, others claim that construction may cause devastating damages on ecosystem including dolphins.[46] Critically endangered Mediterranean
Mediterranean
monk seals were historically abundant in Black Sea, and are regarded to have become extinct from the basin since in 1997.[47] Monk seals were present at the Snake Island until 1950s, and several locations such as the Danube
Danube
Plavni Nature Reserve (ru) and Doğankent
Doğankent
were last of hauling-out sites in post-1990.[48] Very few animals still thrive in the Sea of Marmara.[49] Ongoing Mediterranizations may or may not boost in increases of cetacean diversity in Turkish Straits[44] hence in Black and Azov basins. Various species of pinnipeds, sea otter, and beluga whales[50][51] were introduced into the Black Sea
Black Sea
by mankind and later escaped either by accidental or purported causes. Of these, grey seal[52] and beluga whales[50] have been recorded with successful, long-term occurrences. Great white sharks are known to reach into the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
and Bosphorus
Bosphorus
Strait
Strait
and basking shark into Dardanelles
Dardanelles
although it is unclear whether or not these sharks may reach into the Black and Azov basins.[53][54]

Common dolphins porpoising with a ferry at Batumi
Batumi
port

Ecological effects of pollution[edit] Since the 1960s, rapid industrial expansion along the Black Sea
Black Sea
coast line and the construction of a major dam has significantly increased annual variability in the N:P:Si ratio in the basin. In coastal areas, the biological effect of these changes has been an increase in the frequency of monospecific phytoplankton blooms, with diatom bloom frequency increasing by a factor of 2.5 and non-diatom bloom frequency increasing by a factor of 6. The non-diatoms, such as the prymnesiophytes Emiliania huxleyi
Emiliania huxleyi
(coccolithophore), Chromulina sp., and the Euglenophyte Eutreptia lanowii are able to out-compete diatom species because of the limited availability of Si, a necessary constituent of diatom frustules.[55] As a consequence of these blooms, benthic macrophyte populations were deprived of light, while anoxia caused mass mortality in marine animals.[56][57] The decline in macrophytes was further compounded by overfishing during the 1970s, while the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis reduced the biomass of copepods and other zooplankton in the late 1980s. Additionally, an alien species—the warty comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi)—was able to establish itself in the basin, exploding from a few individuals to an estimated biomass of one billion metric tons.[58] The change in species composition in Black Sea
Black Sea
waters also has consequences for hydrochemistry, as Ca-producing coccolithophores influence salinity and pH, although these ramifications have yet to be fully quantified. In central Black Sea
Black Sea
waters, Si levels were also significantly reduced, due to a decrease in the flux of Si associated with advection across isopycnal surfaces. This phenomenon demonstrates the potential for localised alterations in Black Sea
Black Sea
nutrient input to have basin-wide effects. Pollution reduction and regulation efforts have led to a partial recovery of the Black Sea
Black Sea
ecosystem during the 1990s, and an EU monitoring exercise, 'EROS21', revealed decreased N and P values, relative to the 1989 peak.[59] Recently, scientists have noted signs of ecological recovery, in part due to the construction of new sewage treatment plants in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
in connection with membership in the European Union. Mnemiopsis leidyi populations have been checked with the arrival of another alien species which feeds on them.[60]

Jellyfish

Actinia

Actinia

Goby

Stingray

Goat fish

Hermit crab, Diogenes pugilator

Blue sponge

Spiny dogfish

Seahorse

Black Sea
Black Sea
Common Dolphins with a kite-surfer off Sochi

Terrestrial[edit]

Statues of a man and a tiger, on the way to Mount Akhun.

In the past, the range of the Asiatic lion
Asiatic lion
extended from South Asia
South Asia
to the Balkans, possibly up to the Danube. Places like Turkey
Turkey
and the Trans- Caucasus
Caucasus
were in this range. The Caspian tiger
Caspian tiger
occurred in eastern Turkey
Turkey
and the Caucasus, at least. The lyuti zver (Old Russian for "fierce animal") that was encountered by Vladimir II Monomakh, Velikiy Kniaz
Velikiy Kniaz
of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
(which ranged to the Black Sea
Black Sea
in the south),[61] may have been a tiger or leopard, rather than a wolf or lynx, due to the way it behaved towards him and his horse.[62] Climate[edit]

The ice on the Gulf of Odessa

Short-term climatic variation in the Black Sea
Black Sea
region is significantly influenced by the operation of the North Atlantic oscillation, the climatic mechanisms resulting from the interaction between the north Atlantic and mid-latitude air masses.[63] While the exact mechanisms causing the North Atlantic Oscillation remain unclear,[64] it is thought the climate conditions established in western Europe mediate the heat and precipitation fluxes reaching Central Europe and Eurasia, regulating the formation of winter cyclones, which are largely responsible for regional precipitation inputs[65] and influence Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
Surface Temperatures (SST's).[66] The relative strength of these systems also limits the amount of cold air arriving from northern regions during winter.[67] Other influencing factors include the regional topography, as depressions and storms systems arriving from the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
are funneled through the low land around the Bosphorus, Pontic and Caucasus mountain ranges acting as wave guides, limiting the speed and paths of cyclones passing through the region.[68] Islands[edit]

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There are some islands in the Black sea that belong to Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine:

St.Thomas Island - Bulgaria St.Anastasia Island - Bulgaria St.Cyricus Island - Bulgaria St.Ivan Island - Bulgaria St.Peter Island - Bulgaria Sacalinu Mare Island - Romania Sacalinu Mic Island - Romania Novaya Zemliya - Romania Utrish Island Krupinin Island Sudiuk Island Kefken Island Oreke Island Giresun
Giresun
Island Dzharylgach Island - Ukraine Zmiinyi (Snake) Island - Ukraine

History[edit] Mediterranean
Mediterranean
connection during the Holocene[edit]

The Bosphorus, taken from the International Space Station

Map of the Dardanelles

The Black Sea
Black Sea
is connected to the World Ocean
World Ocean
by a chain of two shallow straits, the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
and the Bosphorus. The Dardanelles
Dardanelles
is 55 m (180 ft) deep and the Bosphorus
Bosphorus
is as shallow as 36 m (118 ft). By comparison, at the height of the last ice age, sea levels were more than 100 m (330 ft) lower than they are now. There is also evidence that water levels in the Black Sea
Black Sea
were considerably lower at some point during the post-glacial period. Some researchers theorize that the Black Sea
Black Sea
had been a landlocked freshwater lake (at least in upper layers) during the last glaciation and for some time after. In the aftermath of the last glacial period, water levels in the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
rose independently until they were high enough to exchange water. The exact timeline of this development is still subject to debate. One possibility is that the Black Sea
Black Sea
filled first, with excess fresh water flowing over the Bosphorus
Bosphorus
sill and eventually into the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea. There are also catastrophic scenarios, such as the " Black Sea
Black Sea
deluge theory" put forward by William Ryan, Walter Pitman and Petko Dimitrov. Deluge hypothesis[edit] Main article: Black Sea
Black Sea
deluge hypothesis The Black Sea
Black Sea
deluge is a hypothesized catastrophic rise in the level of the Black Sea
Black Sea
circa 5600 BC due to waters from the Mediterranean Sea breaching a sill in the Bosporus
Bosporus
Strait. The hypothesis was headlined when The New York Times
The New York Times
published it in December 1996, shortly before it was published in an academic journal.[69] While it is agreed that the sequence of events described did occur, there is debate over the suddenness, dating and magnitude of the events. Relevant to the hypothesis is that its description has led some to connect this catastrophe with prehistoric flood myths.[70] Recorded history[edit]

A medieval map of the Black Sea
Black Sea
by Diogo Homem.

Greek colonies (8th–3rd century BCE) of the Black Sea
Black Sea
(Euxine, or "hospitable" sea).

The Black Sea
Black Sea
was a busy waterway on the crossroads of the ancient world: the Balkans
Balkans
to the west, the Eurasian steppes to the north, Caucasus
Caucasus
and Central Asia to the east, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to the south, and Greece
Greece
to the south-west. The oldest processed gold in the world was found in Varna, and the Black Sea
Black Sea
was supposedly sailed by the Argonauts. The land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Colchis, (now Georgia), marked for the Greeks the edge of the known world. The steppes to the north of the Black Sea
Black Sea
have been suggested as the original homeland (Urheimat) of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language, (PIE) the progenitor of the Indo-European language family, by some scholars such as Marija Gimbutas; others move the heartland further east towards the Caspian Sea, yet others to Anatolia. The Black Sea
Black Sea
became an Ottoman Navy
Ottoman Navy
lake within five years of Genoa losing the Crimea
Crimea
in 1479, after which the only Western merchant vessels to sail its waters were those of Venice's old rival Ragusa. This restriction was gradually changed by the Russian Navy
Russian Navy
from 1783 until the relaxation of export controls in 1789 because of the French Revolution.[71][72] The Black Sea
Black Sea
was a significant naval theatre of World War I and saw both naval and land battles during World War II. Archaeology[edit]

Ivan Aivazovsky. Black Sea
Black Sea
Fleet in the Bay of Theodosia, just before the Crimean War

Ancient trade routes in the region are currently[when?] being extensively studied by scientists, as the Black Sea
Black Sea
was sailed by Hittites, Carians, Colchians, Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Slavs, Varangians, Crusaders, Venetians, Genoese, Lithuanians, Georgians, Poles, Tatars, Ottomans, and Russians. Perhaps the most promising areas in deepwater archaeology are the quest for submerged prehistoric settlements in the continental shelf and for ancient shipwrecks in the anoxic zone, which are expected to be exceptionally well preserved due to the absence of oxygen. This concentration of historical powers, combined with the preservative qualities of the deep anoxic waters of the Black Sea, has attracted increased interest from marine archaeologists who have begun to discover a large number of ancient ships and organic remains in a high state of preservation. Modern use[edit]

Yalta, Crimea

Amasra, Turkey, is located on a small island in the Black Sea

Commercial and civic use[edit] According to NATO, the Black sea is a strategic corridor that provides smuggling channels for moving legal and illegal goods including drugs, radioactive materials, and counterfeit goods that can be used to finance terrorism.[73] Navigation[edit] Ports and ferry terminals[edit] According to the International Transport Workers' Federation
International Transport Workers' Federation
2013 study, there were at least 30 operating merchant seaports in the Black Sea (including at least 12 in Ukraine).[74] Merchant fleet and traffic[edit] According to the International Transport Workers' Federation
International Transport Workers' Federation
2013 study, there were around 2,400 commercial vessels operating in the Black Sea.[74] Fishing[edit] Anchovy: the Turkish commercial fishing fleet catches around 300,000 tons per year on average, and fishery carried out mainly in winter and the highest portion of the stock is caught between November and December.[75] Hydrocarbons exploration[edit] Since the 1980s, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
started offshore drilling for petroleum in the sea's western portion (adjoining Ukraine's coast). The independent Ukraine
Ukraine
continued and intensified that effort within its exclusive economic zone, inviting major international oil companies for exploration. Discovery of the new, massive oilfields in the area stimulated an influx of foreign investments. It also provoked a short-term peaceful territorial dispute with Romania
Romania
which was resolved in 2011 by an international court redefining the exclusive economic zones between the two countries. Holiday resorts and spas[edit]

Cities of the Black Sea

In the years following the end of the Cold War, the popularity of the Black Sea
Black Sea
as a tourist destination steadily increased. Tourism
Tourism
at Black Sea
Black Sea
resorts became one of the region's growth industries.[76] The following is a list of notable Black Sea
Black Sea
resort towns:

2 Mai
2 Mai
(Romania) Agigea
Agigea
(Romania) Ahtopol
Ahtopol
(Bulgaria) Amasra
Amasra
(Turkey) Anaklia
Anaklia
(Georgia) Anapa
Anapa
(Russia) Albena
Albena
(Bulgaria) Alupka
Alupka
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Alushta
Alushta
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Balchik
Balchik
(Bulgaria) Batumi
Batumi
(Georgia) Burgas
Burgas
(Bulgaria) Byala (Bulgaria) Cap Aurora (Romania) Chakvi
Chakvi
(Georgia) Constantine and Helena (Bulgaria) Constanța
Constanța
(Romania) Corbu (Romania) Costineşti
Costineşti
(Romania) Eforie
Eforie
(Romania) Emona (Bulgaria) Eupatoria
Eupatoria
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Foros (Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Feodosiya
Feodosiya
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Giresun
Giresun
(Turkey) Gagra
Gagra
(Abkhazia, Georgia[a]) Gelendzhik
Gelendzhik
(Russia) Golden Sands
Golden Sands
(Bulgaria) Gonio
Gonio
(Georgia) Gurzuf
Gurzuf
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Hopa
Hopa
(Artvin, Turkey) Istanbul
Istanbul
(Turkey) Jupiter (Romania) Kamchia (Bulgaria) Kavarna
Kavarna
(Bulgaria) Kiten (Bulgaria) Kobuleti
Kobuleti
(Georgia) Koktebel
Koktebel
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Lozenetz (Bulgaria) Mamaia
Mamaia
(Romania) Mangalia
Mangalia
(Romania) Năvodari
Năvodari
(Romania) Neptun (Romania) Nesebar
Nesebar
(Bulgaria) Novorossiysk
Novorossiysk
(Russia) Ordu
Ordu
(Turkey) Obzor
Obzor
(Bulgaria) Odessa
Odessa
(Ukraine) Olimp (Romania) Pitsunda
Pitsunda
(Abkhazia, Georgia[a]) Pomorie
Pomorie
(Bulgaria) Primorsko
Primorsko
(Bulgaria) Rize
Rize
(Turkey) Rusalka (Bulgaria) Samsun
Samsun
(Turkey) Saturn (Romania) Sinop (Turkey) Sochi
Sochi
(Russia) Sozopol
Sozopol
(Bulgaria) Sudak
Sudak
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Skadovsk
Skadovsk
(Ukraine) Sulina
Sulina
(Romania) Sunny Beach
Sunny Beach
(Bulgaria) Şile
Şile
(Turkey) Sveti Vlas
Sveti Vlas
(Bulgaria) Trabzon
Trabzon
(Turkey) Tsikhisdziri
Tsikhisdziri
(Georgia) Tuapse
Tuapse
(Russia) Ureki
Ureki
(Georgia) Vama Veche
Vama Veche
(Romania) Varna
Varna
(Bulgaria) Venus (Romania) Yalta
Yalta
(Crimea, Russia/ Ukraine
Ukraine
(disputed)) Zonguldak
Zonguldak
(Turkey)

Soviet frigate Bezzavetny (right) bumping the USS Yorktown during the 1988 Black Sea
Black Sea
bumping incident.

Ukrainian Navy
Ukrainian Navy
artillery boat U170 in the Bay of Sevastopol

Modern military use[edit] International and military use of the Straits[edit] The 1936 Montreux Convention provides for a free passage of civilian ships between the international waters of the Black and the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Seas. However, a single country (Turkey) has a complete control over the straits connecting the two seas. The 1982 amendments to the Montreux Convention allow Turkey
Turkey
to close the Straits at its discretion in both wartime and peacetime.[77] The 1936 Montreux Convention governs the passage of vessels between the Black and the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Seas and the presence of military vessels belonging to non-littoral states in the Black Sea
Black Sea
waters.[78] Trans-sea cooperation[edit] Main articles: Black Sea
Black Sea
Euroregion, Superior Prut and Lower Danube, Black Sea
Black Sea
Games, and Organization of the Black Sea
Black Sea
Economic Cooperation See also[edit]

1927 Crimean earthquakes Ancient Black Sea
Black Sea
shipwrecks Anoxic event Bulgarian Black Sea
Black Sea
Coast Caucasian Riviera Internationalization of the Danube
Danube
River Karadeniz Technical University Kuma–Manych Depression Mount Akhun Romanian Black Sea
Black Sea
resorts

References[edit] Informational notes

^ a b Abkhazia
Abkhazia
has been a de facto independent republic since 1992, although remains a de jure autonomous republic of Georgia.

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Problem" (in Turkish).  ^ "Montreaux Convention and Turkey
Turkey
(pdf)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 19, 2013. 

Bibliography

Stella Ghervas, "The Black Sea", in D. Armitage, A. Bashford and S. Sivasundaram, eds., Oceanic Histories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 234-266. ISBN 978-1-1083-9972-2 Stella Ghervas, " Odessa
Odessa
et les confins de l'Europe: un éclairage historique", in Stella Ghervas et François Rosset (ed), Lieux d'Europe. Mythes et limites (Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 2008), pp. 107-124. ISBN 978-2-7351-1182-4 Charles King, The Black Sea: A History, 2004, ISBN 0-19-924161-9 William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah's Flood, 1999, ISBN 0-684-85920-3 Neal Ascherson, Black Sea
Black Sea
(Vintage 1996), ISBN 0-09-959371-8 Schmitt, Rüdiger (1989). "BLACK SEA". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 3. pp. 310–313.  Rüdiger Schmitt, "Considerations on the Name of the Black Sea", in: Hellas und der griechische Osten (Saarbrücken 1996), pp. 219–224 West, Stephanie (2003). ‘The Most Marvellous of All Seas’: the Greek Encounter with the Euxine. 50. Greece
Greece
& Rome. pp. 151–167.  Petko Dimitrov; Dimitar Dimitrov (2004). THE BLACK SEA, THE FLOOD AND THE ANCIENT MYTHS. Varna. p. 91. ISBN 954-579-335-X.  Dimitrov, D. 2010. Geology and Non-traditional resources of the Black Sea. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. ISBN 978-3-8383-8639-3. 244p.

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