Unique species Black Sea and Caspian Sea in crisisNaturalis Biodiversity Center
The drilling cores have shown that around fifteen Pontocaspian species have flourished in the coastal system over the past few thousand years on the transition of the sweet Danube water and the brackish Black Sea. These species have adapted to specific salt levels.
But due to the construction of dams that cut off the coastal lakes from the Black Sea and the supply of Danube water through new channels, the system was sweetened. In the last ten years, several species that have been here for tens of thousands of years and possibly much longer are no longer to be found. Of the fifteen species, only three have been found alive. The unique Pontocaspian species are also doing poorly in the nearby coastal zone of Ukraine.
The research, recently published in Biogeosciences, makes it clear that it is essential to restore the natural fresh-salt gradient in the area. For many species, it is unclear whether it is not too late.
Read the article in Biogeosciences (pdf; 12,0 MB).
Text: Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Photos: Frank Wesselingh (leadphoto: habitat on the transition from fresh and salt water, Tagangrog Bay (Russia))