Türkİye, Environment

Turkish ship to probe effects of ‘sea snot’ at lowest point of Marmara Sea

Scientists to focus their research in dark depths of Sea of Marmara, especially on formation of hydrogen sulfide

Selma Kasap   | 15.06.2021
Turkish ship to probe effects of ‘sea snot’ at lowest point of Marmara Sea


Researchers from the Institute of Marine Sciences at Turkey’s Middle East Technical University (METU) will use a research ship to investigate the effects of “sea snot” or mucilage at the lowest point in the Sea of Marmara at 1,210 meters. 

The Bilim-2 (Science-2) vessel collects data from 100 stations in the Sea of Marmara as part of the Marmara Sea Integrated Modeling System (MARMOD) Project which has been conducted since 2017 by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization under the coordination of the METU Institute of Marine Sciences.

Scientists from METU will focus their research in the dark depths of the Marmara Sea, especially on the formation of hydrogen sulfide.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mustafa Yucel, deputy director of the METU Institute of Marine Sciences, said samples taken by a water measuring device from 100 different stations, including the Istanbul and Canakkale straits, are analyzed in the laboratory of the Bilim-2 ship.

Yucel said they have recently focused their work on the examination of the samples at the METU Institute of Marine Sciences laboratory in Erdemli district in Mersin province and on a modeling study to create a high-resolution digital twin of the Sea of Marmara as part of the MARMOD Project.

Underlining the importance of the creation of the digital twin, Yucel said: "By looking at this twin, it will be decided to what extent the reduction of the loads in the sea will affect the cleanliness. Therefore, the creation of the digital twin will affect the decisions to be made for the breathing of the Sea of Marmara.”

He said their current findings suggest that the mucilage settles 40-50 meters from the sea surface.

“Thus, the signals of our devices cannot pass under the sea. We see that mucilage production continues in the sea and the agglomeration is in the sea. It is observed that the mucilage rises from the bottom of the sea.”

Importance of mucilage cleaning on sea surface

Pointing to the importance of mucilage cleaning on the sea surface, Yucel said: “The cleanliness of the surface is of course important. Especially the caked material piled on the shore must be cleaned.”

“Also, it is seen that mucilage production across the Sea of Marmara continues. We are working on what needs to be done to make the sea breathable. We think that recovery will take a long time.”

He also said that deoxygenation is a big problem for the Marmara Sea.

He said they also obtained data that the waste in the Marmara Sea is natural organic waste, adding they received preliminary information from the analysis that an outside intervention such as an unknown waste was not made into the Marmara Sea. 

The Marmara Sea Action Plan Coordination Committee will hold its first meeting Tuesday, the country’s environment and urbanization minister said on Twitter.

Murat Kurum said the meeting will take place in the Dolmabahce presidential working office in Istanbul at 2 p.m. local time (1100GMT).

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