Adriana Maria Constantinescu

PhD photoPhD Student

MSc. Marine Geology – University of Western Brittany, France (2013)
MSc. Applied Geophysics – University of Bucharest, Romania (2011)
BSc. Geologic Engineering – University of Bucharest, Romania (2009)

Supervisors: Prof Andrew TylerDr Peter Hunter

Start Date: 14th January 2015

4V11 Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

Tel: +44 (0)1786 466550
fax: +(44) 1786 467843

Research Project

Reconstructing Changes in Sediment Flux from the Danube into the Black Sea through Earth Observation, Hydrodynamic Modelling and Sediment Coring

The Black Sea is a semi-enclosed basin of 432,000 km² and the largest anoxic basin in the world. Its modern hydrology is strongly governed by the discharge of major Eurasian rivers (Danube, Dniester and Dnieper, inter alia) and by the water exchanges with the Mediterranean Sea through the shallow Bosphorus Strait.

Draining a territory almost twice as the Black Sea area, the Danube River is the largest and the most important water and sediment supplier of this marine basin. Presently, the Danube influence is determinant for the sedimentation on the north-western Black Sea shelf area. The Danube role extends far southwards, to the Bosphorus region, as well as down to the deep-sea zone.

The Danube Delta represents the most extended wetland area in Europe. Its present-day geomorphology expresses the interaction of the river (sediment and water discharges, flow energy, etc.) and the sea (wave and littoral currents regime, sea-level changes, etc.) over the past 12 000 yr. Currently, the Danube discharges into the Black Sea through three main distributaries: Chilia (the northern distributary which, near the coast, is further divided into a series of smaller branches forming the Chilia Secondary Delta, located mainly in the Ukraine); the middle branch is the Sulina Distributary, while the southern one is Sfantu Gheorghe.

The quality and quality of water, suspended sediment and associated particles in the modern Danube River are strongly linked to anthropogenic activities within the watershed. Thus, any change upstream is recorded downstream, in the delta and the Black Sea. Damming and channel dredging have reduced the sediment input leading to delta and coast degradation and erosion but in the same time, intensive land use practice had the opposite effect. These influences, along with climate change, control the fluvial transfer and variability across the basin.

Recent studies on water quality (turbidity patterns, suspended particulate matter) in the area revealed that water turbidity is controlled mainly by river discharge and sediment re-suspension, but atmospheric conditions and vegetation play an important role. The redistribution of the particles in the low salinity waters in the Black Sea is directly influenced by the same factors.

The aim of this study is to understand the sediment transfer (and associated particles and phenomena) from the basin to the delta and then towards the coastal zone and the Black Sea shelf and possible communication with the shelf break and abyssal plain, in an integrated way. The study will consider the modern period, and its influencing factors: anthropogenic changes in the basin, related to recent geopolitical history and the effects of climate change and associated river runoff (including catastrophic events – storms, floods, etc.) and erosion.

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