A key role of sandy beaches in the marine environment
Odessa Branch of the Institute of Biology of Southern Seas of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 65011, Odessa, UKRAINE
The well-known scientist V.I. Vernadsky met forth the concept of concentration of living matter at the outer boundaries of the ocean: sea surface, sea floor and, particularly, coastline where the former two boundaries meet. But in spite of environmental importance and accessibility for investigations, contour marine biotopes, in particular, the sandy beaches (psammocontour), remain to date much less studied than the open marine areas. Results of first task-oriented integrated investigations in the Black Sea confirm the ecological exceptionality of sandy beaches for the marine ecosystem, and point out information gaps which need further research in this promising line in marine ecology. Exceptional high concentration of organisms and detritus in sandy beaches is the main reason of littoral concentration of life. Fry and juvenile of about 90 species of the Black Sea fish are feeding just in the water line area up to the depth 2-3 m, where the interstitial water enriched with microorganisms and detritus is seeping from the sandy beaches. This is a typical ecological “hot spot”, a key biotope of great scientific and practical interest.
Keywords: Black Sea, sandy beach, psammocontour, interstitial organisms, ecological hot spots