reading time: 5 min.

Preliminary Results from Marine Survey in Turkey and Northern Cyprus Revealed

Preliminary Results from Marine Survey in Turkey and Northern Cyprus Revealed

The initial findings from the extensive marine survey of Turkish seas have been announced. This large-scale environmental study involved citizens, students, and graduates from 28 coastal provinces in Turkey and Northern Cyprus (TRNC) who collected data on sea temperatures, pollution, and oxygen levels during the Ramadan holiday.

Publish Date: 20/05/24 14:06
reading time: 5 min.
Preliminary Results from Marine Survey in Turkey and Northern Cyprus Revealed
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The project, named "Young Explorers of Our Seas," is a significant citizen science initiative aimed at assessing the health of surrounding seas.

This volunteer-driven project saved approximately 250,000 liters of fuel and prevented 650 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which would have been emitted if the survey had been conducted using traditional methods involving extended ship voyages.

Encouraging Community Participation in Science

Middle East Technical University (METU) Rector, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Verşan Kök, highlighted the importance of this citizen science project. He emphasized METU’s commitment to blending scientific research with community involvement, underlining the role of METU’s Science Communication Office in promoting public engagement in scientific processes.

Prof. Kök explained that the project utilized specially developed kits for measuring various parameters of sea water quality, such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and pH. These measurements were taken by volunteers in 28 coastal provinces of Turkey and TRNC and are now being analyzed by METU’s Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) to contribute to the scientific understanding of marine water quality.

Innovative Data Collection Technology

For this project, the METU Design Factory and IMS researchers developed a device called "Kaşif-1" that can quickly collect critical marine data. These parameters, along with their geographical coordinates, are compiled into a central database for further analysis by METU scientists.

Key Findings

Prof. Kök shared the initial findings on May 19, a significant date commemorating Atatürk's arrival in Samsun, marking the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence. The preliminary analysis, conducted by Prof. Dr. Barış Salihoğlu and Dr. Devrim Tezcan, revealed the following:

  • Temperature Increase: There has been a noticeable rise in sea surface temperatures across Turkish seas, attributed to global warming and the effects of El Niño. Compared to last year, the temperature increases recorded are as follows: 1.5°C in the Mediterranean, 1°C in the Aegean, 1.8°C in the Marmara region, 2.3°C in the Western Black Sea, and 1°C in the Eastern Black Sea.

  • Pollution and Biological Productivity: Preliminary observations indicate more acidic conditions (pH below 8) in the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, correlating with higher pollution levels and biological productivity. In contrast, cleaner areas like TRNC displayed more alkaline conditions (around pH 8.4).

  • Oxygen Levels: Daytime oxygen levels in surface waters were found to be in the range of 6-7 mg/L, as expected.

  • Salinity: Salinity measurements revealed distinct characteristics of different seas. The Black Sea exhibited salinity around 20 units, while the Aegean and Mediterranean showed salinity around 38 units. Lower than expected salinity values in spring suggest significant river inflows.

Future Prospects

METU researchers believe that extending this project with broader participation could provide invaluable data for climate studies. Prof. Dr. Eren Kalay, Director of the METU Science Communication Office and Project Coordinator, stated that the data collected will contribute to a scientific article co-authored by all volunteer participants. The project will continue through the summer with additional volunteers, and future plans include extending the project to gather data from lakes worldwide as part of an EU project.

This initiative demonstrates the power of community involvement in scientific research and its potential to contribute significantly to environmental monitoring and climate change studies.


Source: TAK

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