Hazardous marine animals
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  Teaching Black Sea Ecology: Living Black Sea  


For many years and all year around, at the camp of Shtormovoy in the Russian Federal Children Center Orlyonok, children and their teachers have gone to the seaside right outside the camp to gather shells and algae, to catch fish, write down observations, go out to sea and throw plankton nets. They watch tiny marine animals through microscopes, read, discuss, and carry out research projects. And all this is a lot of fun, because it is a children camp.



Besides getting knowledge about the Black Sea ecology, certain marine organisms biology etc., most important tasks include:

  • to learn to discern, not just to look

  • to be curious, to ask questions and to try to find answers

  • to think about what you are observing: to compare observations and data, to find causes and consequences

  • to build your own vision of the world around you

With regard to the Black Sea marine life, this means that our main goal is not to memorize the names of many marine animals, and many curious facts, but the goal is to try to understand how the Sea lives.

Next goal is mandatory for any biological education course: 'development of environmental awareness'. That is, first you learn about nature, then learn to love it and respect it, build a bond to it, and then care about it.

There is a small hope that people of the current active generation change their attitudes towards their native environment. Kids of today - decision-makers of tomorrow - are worth teaching efforts. They are more independent, not so easily submitting under influence: they see flourishing poaching, illegal wastes disposal, and forest cutting and construction sites in protected areas - and understand why it happens. These issues - why it happens and what to do - are discussed at children round tables, conferences.



It was the Director and Captain of the camp 'Shtormovoy', Dr. Alexey Soloviev, who brought with him the enthusiasm in marine life and started marine ecology teaching here ten years ago. Today his associates and successors continue developing marine environmental education in the RFCC 'Orlyonok'.

The program is running for 12 months a year, including three ecological terms when young natural scientists from all over Russia, selected on the basis of their excellence and merits of their research projects, gather in Shtormovoy.


Children are offered first hand marine science knowledge offered by Russian specialists from P.P.Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS, NP Living Black Sea, other research institutes and universities, and international experts such as NOAA-National Ocean Service and the NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network.


Our teaching laboratory in Camp Shtormovoy is also utilized by national and international researchers conducting scientific investigation on the biology of the Black Sea. Ongoing research program of IORAS and NP LBS with NOAA on phytoplankton ecology and distribution since 2000, and other projects use Shtormovoy laboratory as a field research facility, and curious kids have an opportunity to take part in field stages of research like sampling, plankton identification and counting.

In the last 16 years, over 160 000 children have attended Living Black Sea and Marine Life Courses. Our textbooks, training aids and visual aids on Marine Biology of the Black Sea are used in many schools of the Black Sea region:


book Life of the Black Sea -  received a - "in recognition of exceptional work in communicating marine biology to the young in particular for the Living Black Sea education initiative and book on marine science, Life of the Black Sea".


Young Marine Explorer Diary - 3rd edition already, made and published due to the enthusiasm of the Shtormovoy camp counselors and the Living Black Sea instructors. The Diary is now available for teachers to download from this site.



Poster - identification guide

Underwater Life of the Black Sea




Poster - identification guide Black Sea Seashells


Living Black Sea,
2007, Kogorta Publishers,
DVD The Living Sea,
2008, Directmedia Publishers
DVD Sea Life,
2010, Ciril and Methodius
Alexander Vershinin
The Lving Black Sea,
2016, Moscow,
Kovcheg Publishers

Second edition of the Living Black Sea book was published in 2007 in Moscow and Krasnodar; DVD The Living Sea (Directmedia Publishers) based on Living Black Sea book was published in 2008 - with videos, animations - so it was not what it was intended to be; DVD Sea Life (2010, Ciril and Methodius Publishers) was much better and included chapters not only on Black Sea but also on Mediterranean, Caribbean, Southern Ocean - all we discuss in our classes and excursions.


Mountain lakes and rivers were added to the scope of the summer study program


Since 2008, the Living Black Sea program is active in all seven camps of the Russian Federal Children Center Orlyonok.


A new book The Living Black Sea by Alexander Vershinin was published in 2016.





Acknowledgements: Some of the drawn pictures on these pages are based on the originals made by E.V.Bogomolova (School of Biology, Moscow State University) for the book 'Life of the Black Sea'. Pirkko Kokkosalo, MSocSci, Administrative Officer of EMBO Executive Director's Office helped us correcting proofs of some pages of the English language version of the site.



The following pages are available only in Russian:

Black Sea Marine Life - sandy bottom - fishes, crabs, mollusks...

Black Sea Marine Life - sandy bottom - let's think about it
Black Sea Marine Life - submarine rocks - near the surfline

Black Sea Marine Life - submarine rocks - deeper

Black Sea Marine Life - submarine rocks - even deeper

Oil pollution, coastal deforestation, etc.

Aegean Sea - compare to Black Sea