Sfântu Gheorghe Marine and Fluvial Research Station (SCMF) is the home of the Coastal Research Group of Faculty of Geography, University of Bucharest. It operates since 2002 at Sf. Gheorghe village, Tulcea County, providing local support for developing research and educative activities in marine and coastal sciences. SCMF is a national leading actor in monitoring, analysing, understanding and predicting the behaviour of coastal, marine and fluvial systems in support of optimal management of coastal resources and activities.
The Coastal Research Group members deal with a wide range of coastal topics: coastal landscape evolution (deltaic lobes, barrier spits and islands), coastal geomorphology (beach morphodynamics, foredune development, nearshore sandbars behaviour), coastal climate (storm evolution and impact, climate variability), nearshore hydrodynamics, river mouth behaviour.
By its location in the Danube Delta at the mouth of St. Gheorghe branch SCMF provides researchers and students the logistic support for undertaking observations, measurements and field experiments on natural processes, modelling factors and associated landforms or on coping ways of human communities to local environmental conditions while providing the opportunity of exploring the entire coastal system including current and past form (geomorphology, geology), controlling factors of coastal processes: wind, waves, currents (oceanography), biodiversity (biogeography, ecology, palaeontology) or landscape (management, spatial planning, anthropology).
The research activities cover therefore a wide range of areas and topics aimed at gaining a better understanding of marine and coastal environment functionality and its changes at various spatial and temporal scales for configuring the optimal conditions for living in such a sensitive environment. Thus, the research activities include:
The dynamics of beaches, dunes and bars is tracked by seasonal monitoring and sediment budget calculations taking into account the parameters of environmental factors such as wind, waves, currents and flooding in modelling the coastal forms.
The correlated behavior of the beach-dune system, the water line and the longshore bars is monitored on the St. Gheorghe beach, located in the Danube Delta, updrift of the mouth of the southernmost Danube branch that flows into the Black Sea, at seven landmarks distributed along the beach (11 km long).
Measurements of seasonal beach dynamics are also made on the Southern Romanian shore at Midia, Eforie N, Pescărușul, Vama Veche.
Bathymetric measurements which cover submerged bars sector until 20m isobath are undertaken annually on the Danube Delta coast between Sulina and Periteașca. Due to its major influence on the deltaic shore dynamics given by its position within the alongshore sediment transport system, a special attention is granted to high precision monitoring of St. George mouth bar, regularly during the summer, but also after major hydro – meteorological events (e.g. floods, drought, storms).
Measurement data offers a new perspective on the climate and the impact of coastal storms, as well as on the importance of these events on littoral cell’s dynamics and coastal areas vulnerability.
Geoarchaeological studies focus on the reconstruction of the evolution of natural and cultural landscapes, offering the opportunity to study the landscape transformation dominated by the combined action of natural and anthropic factors on different time scales, as well as the evaluation of socio-environmental resilience in coastal area. Our research team developed geoarchaeological investigations in the Danube delta at Histria, Orgame, Enisala, Halmyris, Caraorman.
Large-scale evolution of coastal environment:
The reconstruction of deltaic system evolution requires detailed investigations regarding deltaic lobes, hydrological network, beach ridge plains and barrier islands development. Studies dealing with large-scale landscape evolution are grounded on detailed stratigraphic, sedimentologic, geochemical, palynological and paleontological analyses. The chronological framework is determined by absolute ages obtained through Optically Stimulated Luminiscence (OSL) and radiocarbon dating methods. In the case of recent sediments (deposited during the last 150 years), sedimentation rates are determined by isotopic measurements of P210 and C137.
GIS analyses applied in coastal geomorphology:
Geographical Information Systems allow quantification and analyses of spatial data, offering valuable information regarding the dynamics of coastal areas.
Coastal system integrated management:
The understanding of coastal system behavior is fundamental for providing and applying valid politics based on the concept of sustainable development.
The research activities at SCMF are parts of the research projects undertaken by the permanent or associated research staff. . The projects are funded by national (UEFISCDI, AMTRANS) or international (PAI- Brâncuşi, ERA-Net) research. The research results are published in articles, books or book chapters addressed to specialized or general public, being also presented in numerous scientific events in the country or abroad, or as specialized courses at the Geography Faculty, University of Bucharest (bachelor or master studies).
Students who work on bachelor, master’s or doctoral theses learn methods and techniques for exploring the marine and coastal systems, thus gaining various knowledge and skills necessary to address specific coastal environment problems, as well as global ones related to climate change, sea level rise, renewable energy development and a sustainable environment.
Facilities & Research Logistics
The research station is situated on the center of Sf. Gheorghe village, 2 km away from the beach and from the rivermouth. The buildings comprise 7 rooms: 2 working rooms, 1 laboratory, 4 bedrooms, 2 toiletes, 1 kitchen.
Fieldwork and laboratory research equipment :
- Merry Fisher 530 boat (equipped with Evinrude 90 CP engine)
- Rebel 400 boat (equipped with Selva 25 CP engine)
- 2 inflatable Zodiac boats (provided with Suzuki 15 CP engine)
- ATV Kymco MXU 300
- Tridimensional currentmeter Nortek Vector 3D
- Pressure sensor Level Troll 700
- Waves monitoring pressure transducer RTX 1930
- Depth and submerged topography detection and recording system – Valeport Midas Surveyor
- Garmin GPSMAP 166 and Garmin GPSMAP 298C echosounders
- Topographic Total station Sokkia 610
- DGPS RTK Leica Viva
- GPS Garmin GPSMAP 76CSx
- Coring equipment (Eijelkamp perscussion corer, Auger, Split-Spoon, Push Core, Piston Core, Gage)
- Lamote Sampling Dredge 5110
- Lower atmospheric boundary layer monitoring system made up of 4 vind speed sensors (Max 40+ anemometers), 1 wind direction sensor (DIR 21) and a datalogger provided with 126 inputs (Eko 21)
- Vertical and cylindrical sand traps
- Mutiparametric water quality monitoring station HI9828/20 (13 measured parameters)
- Water test 3150 (pH, ORP, conductivity and temperature)
- Turbidimetru HI98713-2
- Marvel 6035 portable turbidity meter
- HI98203 Salinity test
- Optical instruments for biologiy and marine ecology research.
- GIS and teledetection infrastructure