This book is the outcome of a NATO Advanced Research Workshop on "The Eastern Mediterranean as a laboratory basin for the assessment of contrasting ecosystems" that was held in Kiev, Ukraine, March 23-27, 1998. The scientific rationale of the workshop can be summarized as follows. The Eastern Mediterranean is the most nutrient impoverished and oligotrophic large water body known. There is a well-defined eastward trend in nutrient ratios over the entire Mediterranean that starts at the Gibraltar Straits and, through the western basin, proceeds to the Ionian and Levantine Seas. Supply of nutrients to the entire Mediterranean is limited by inputs from the North Atlantic and various river systems along the sea. The unique feature of the Mediterranean is the presence of an eastward longitudinal trend in available nitrate/phosphate ratios. This apparently induces a west-to-east variation in the structure of the pelagic food web and trophic interactions. In this context the Mediterranean, and in particular its Eastern basin, provides probably a unique platform to explore the hypotheses related to the suggested phosphate-limitation on production and to the shift between "microbial" and "classical" modes of operation of the photic food web. The major exception of the overall oligotrophic nature of the Eastern Mediterranean is the highly eutrophic system of the Northern Adriatic Sea. Here, during the last two decades the discharges of the northern rivers (especially of the Po), together with municipal sewage, have led to a very marked increase of nutrients and subsequent imponent eutrophication events.
The Black Sea ecosystem is a unique marine environment. Its isolation from the ocean and large catchment basin, covering industrial and rural parts of the European and Asian continents, render the Black Sea ecosystem extremely vulnerable to the imposed environmental burdens Complex scientific problems related to the recent evolution of the Black Sea ecosystem were tackled in the framework of the NATO TU BLACK SEA project 'Ecosystem modelling as a management tool for the Black Sea', implemented between 1993 and 1997. The primary results and the products of the TU BLACK SEA project were presented to the scientific community at a dedicated symposium held on 15-19 June, 1997 at Zori Rossii on the Crimean coast of the Black Sea. The present two volumes contain 47 of the papers presented at the symposium, selected by peer review. Volume I contains 27 papers in all, two on the NATO TU Black SEA database and database management system, eight on the Black Sea biogeochemistry, and 17 on the biological structure of the basin. Of the 20 papers appearing in Volume II, nine are physical processes and 11 are on the modelling of the circulation and the ecosystems of the Black Sea.
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