Oceanology or oceanography. The study of the oceans and seas in all their aspects, including their physical, geological, and biological properties. Before the Revolution of 1917 only marine biology and marine chemistry were developed in Ukraine, mostly under the auspices of the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences (Mykola Andrusiv, N. Zelinsky, and S. Zernov). The research was concentrated at the Sevastopol Biological Station (SBS, est 1872) and was focused principally on the Black Sea.

In 1963 the SBS was reorganized into the Institute of the Biology of Southern Seas of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. Later that year, two smaller biological stations, at Kara-Dag, near Teodosiia (est 1914), and at Odesa (est 1954), were turned into branches of the institute. Field studies at the institute expanded in scope and diversity when two new research vessels, the A. Kovalevsky and the N. Miklukho-Maklai, were commissioned. The Marine Hydrophysical Institute was transferred in 1961 from the USSR Academy of Sciences in Moscow to the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR and moved to Sevastopil (see Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR). Its large research vessel, the M. Lomonosov, was capable of all-weather ocean research. The institute’s branch at Katsiveli, west of Alupka, continued to serve as an experimental station for testing new equipment. A second branch was opened in Odesa in 1986 to study economic issues of ocean exploration and human-induced phenomena in the coastal seas. In 1973 the USSR Oceanographic Institute in Moscow, which came under the State Committee on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring and had branches in Odesa and Sevastopol, launched a major program in marine geology, ocean dynamics, and pollution. The Azov-Black Sea Scientific Research Institute of Fish and Oceanography in Kerch expanded its global explorations for ocean fisheries.

In its quest for rapid economic and military growth the Soviet government in the 1960s and 1970s increased funding for theoretical and field research in oceanography. By the end of the 1970s more than 20 large ocean-going research vessels were operating from Ukrainian ports. Highest priority was given to, and vast funds channeled into, programs that had some application to submarine warfare (acoustics, subtle ocean structures, sea-ocean connections), a rapid increase in food resources (marine biology), the assimilation of Western technology, and the spreading of propaganda abroad. As a result Soviet oceanographers made unprecedented progress in areas such as oceanic turbulence, vertical water structure, the interaction between inanimate and living matter, sedimentation, oxic-anoxic microbial processes, and underwater acoustics. In an effort to prevent the rapid degradation of the coastal waters and estuaries the effects of pollution in the regions concerned were studied at the Institute of the Biology of Southern Seas of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR and the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in Kyiv.

In the 1980s, however, Soviet oceanography fell behind the achievements in the West, because of the general technological gap between the two societies. Space oceanography, free suspended floats, completely automated instrumentation, new methods in chemistry and biology, and new drilling techniques in the West could not be matched by Soviet science. The economic restructuring in the late 1980s signified a virtual end to large-scale research in oceanography. The large fleet of research vessels became obsolete. Funds for oceanographic research were channeled into other programs. The emphasis has shifted to methods of improving coastal marine systems, conserving water, exploring the adjacent seas prudently, and halting the degradation of the landlocked seas.

Vinogradov, K. Ocherki po istorii otechestvennykh gidrobiologicheskikh issledovanii na Chernom more (Kyiv 1955)
Dobrovol’skii, A.; Zalogin, B. Moria SSSR (Moscow 1965)
Deriugin, K. Istoriia okeanograficheskikh issledovanii (Leningrad 1972)
Tolmazin, D. Elements of Dynamic Oceanography (London 1985)
Doronin, Iu. Regional'naia okeanografiia (Leningrad 1986)

David Tolmazin

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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