Microphytobenthos as an indicator of water quality and organic pollution in the western coastal zone of the Sea of Azov

Sophia Barinova, Anna Bondarenko, Larisa Ryabushko, Sergey Kapranov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bioindication of organic pollution and seawater quality was carried out for the first time in the western part of the Sea of Azov on the basis of species composition and quantitative characteristics of microphytobenthos. A total of 229 algal samples were collected at 17 sites over the period of 2005-2014 on three different substrates in three areas under study: Sivash Gulf, the Kerch Strait and Cape Kazantip. In total, 200 taxa of algae were found, which belong to six taxonomic divisions with a predominance of diatoms. Among those, 108 taxa are indicators of substrate, water temperature, salinity, water pH, trophic state, the type of nutrition and organic pollution of water. It has been shown that the most active self-purification of water takes place in communities on stony substrates. The largest number of algae species (50%) occurs in the cleanest waters of the Kazantip Nature Reserve (Water Quality Classes I-II). The species composition of organic pollution indicators in Sivash Gulf corresponds to waters of Classes III-IV, which are more polluted than those of the Kerch Strait and Cape Kazantip. All the studied areas of the Sea of Azov are cleaner compared to some waters of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Sea of Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalOceanological and Hydrobiological Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Faculty of Oceanography and Geography, University of Gdańsk, Poland 2019.


  • bioindication
  • ecological mapping
  • microphytobenthos
  • organic pollution
  • the Sea of Azov
  • water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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