Interests of the Waterleven team lie in various areas. We carry out diverse ecological projects aimed at studying marine and freshwater communities’ structure and functioning. Along with this, our experts in zoology are involved in projects dedicated to the morphology of invertebrate animals. 
Our team also provides different services in the sphere of eco-engineering research and environmental monitoring. 
The Waterleven team stands for interdisciplinary research, for only a comprehensive study of any problem helps to understand it better.



The study of the Eastern Antarctica underwater world

Bottom communities of Prydz bay intertidal zone

Since the discovery of Antarcticа during the 19th century investigations of adjacent sea areas have been carried out. Until recently the majority of faunal researches was linked to RV sampling making it impossible to study shallow water (0-30m) communities. 
The Antarctic coastal benthic communities are unique and have many specific features. The Antarctic coastal waters strongly differ from the Arctic seas in terms of abiotic conditions, foremost, in absence of continental runoff resulting in high values of oceanic conductivity even in coastal zone, negative temperatures throughout the whole year and low nutrients concentration in the water column. 
The Antarctic shelf is relatively narrow and -transitions abruptly into the continental slope. Furthermore, the circumpolar current “isolates” Antarctic waters from the world Ocean. 
Due to such abiotic conditions Antarctic coastal communities have further specific features: high diversity and endemicity of fauna, egress of deep water species to shallow areas, exposure of the community to the sea ice, large body proportions, slow growth rate and low metabolic level of majority of the organisms. 
The degree of scrutiny of shallow water communities varies greatly in different Antarctic regions: to date coastal communities of Western Antarctic are better studied in comparison with the Eastern part, where vast ice shelf areas remain practically unexplored. 
The aim of this project is to describe upper subtidal benthic communities (mega-, macro-, meiobenthos) in a fjord-like bay in the East Antarctica by the example of Nella cove, Prydz Bay.

Plankton communities of the eastern coastal waters of Antarctica

The main goal of the project is to study the zooplankton and phytoplankton communities of the eastern coast of Antarctica. the complex research covers a variety of tasks:

  1. The investigation of the structure of zooplankton communities, identifying and calculating abundance and biomass of the common species, determination of the effect of abiotic factors (temperature, conductivity, nutrients concentration), lipid and fatty acid composition of the common species;

  2. Molecular analysis of meroplankton species, calculating abundance and biomass of the mass species, distribution, the ratio of distributions of benthic organisms and their larvas;

  3. The investigation of the structure of phytoplankton communities, identifying and calculating abundance and biomass of the common species, determination of the effect of abiotic factors (temperature, conductivity, nutrients concentration).

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The Eastern Arctic

Zoobenthos distribution in the southwestern part of the Kara sea

The Kara Sea is a typical marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located in the western Siberia (Russia). The formation of the Kara Sea waters is influenced by the continental runoff and the waters of the central Arctic Basin, as well as by the transformed Atlantic waters from the Barents Sea.

Nowadays the Kara Sea ecosystems become more interesting in connection with increasing anthropogenic impact. There are a lot of investigated oil and gas fields in the Kara Sea shelf, therefore, the study and protection of the Kara Sea ecosystem is becoming increasingly important. Unfortunately, a few papers are devoted to the structure of the Kara Sea benthic communities. It is absolutely obvious that at the moment this is not enough.

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Morphology and physiology of parasitic crustaceans--Rhizocephala (Cirripedia: Rhizocephala)

Rhizocephalans are highly specialized parasitic crustaceans. Due to their endoparasitic lifestyle they lost almost all traits found usually in crustaceans. Rhizocephala lost not only their digestive system and other organs, but they also lost their body axes. However, representatives of this group evolved some other traits like modified muscular and nervous systems, and an unusual organisation of tissues and cells. What is more, they use unique molecular mechanisms of host-parasite interactions, which allows them to control their host.

The main goal of our research is to investigate the morphological and molecular adaptations of Rhizocephalans for the endoparasitic lifestyle.

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Feeding of common fish species in the Greenland Sea, western Svalbard

The project is concentrated on the study of fish diet in coastal waters of the archipelago Svalbard. The main goal of this work is to investigate feeding of some common fish species Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and capelin (Mallotus villosus) from Kongsfjord, the Greenland Sea (N 79º00’89’’, E 11º66’73’’). The main project goals are:

1.    To compare feeding patterns and prey selection of two planktivorous species: polar cod and capelin;

2.    To study feeding patterns of Atlantic cod and to compare them with the Atlantic cod’s feeding results from the White Sea.

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Aphrodita project

You can download the data on the water temperature in the White Sea at different depths in XLSX files or email us.

The White Sea due to its specific features of geography and hydrological regime is of particular interest for research. Data on the modern characteristics of the White Sea water masses are available and are constantly being updated, however, information about the “historical” conditions is practically absent. Thus making it impossible to draw any conclusions on the hydrological processes that occurred here, in not only the last centuries but also even decades.

This project is a pilot paleoceanologic study of some parts of the White Sea basin. Our aim is to reconstruct bottom water temperatures. Such reconstruction must allow us to get a grasp on the previous changes in the bottom water conditions, how they could have affected local fauna and make predictions for the future.

As in most studies with similar purpose, to reconstruct the temperature, as well as to date the sediment cores collected, we conduct isotopic analysis of the secreted benthic foraminifers’ tests. Foraminiferans - single-celled organisms are vastly present in almost all marine habitats - have a calcareous shell well preserved in the geological record and comprising the oxygen isotopes O16 and O18. On the basis of their proportion it is possible to carry out the reconstruction of temperatures at which these organisms existed.

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