Site: Marine Hydrophysical Institute,
Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
2, Kapitanskaya St.
Sevastapol 335000
Telephone: (0690) 525046
Fax: (0690) 523668, 520195
Omnet: MHI.Sevastapol

Date Visited: May 20, 1993

Report Author: R. Seymour



L. Gentry
R. Seymour


Professor Vladimir V. Efimov; Deputy Director Michael E. Rabinovich; Director of Special Design-Technology Bureau and Head of Marine Instruments Department


The Marine Hydrophysical Institute (MHI) is one of the largest research institutions in the world devoted principally to the study of physical oceanography. In addition to the headquarters facility in Sevastopol, the institute has an Experimental Division in Katsiveli (Crimea) and an Acoustics Division in Odessa.

The institute operates five ships, two of which are major ocean-going vessels that have been active in the world oceans on programs such as WOCE, TOGA, and JGOFS. Because of present budget constraints, work outside of the Black Sea is restricted to contract investigations. The institute was founded in 1929 and the base in Sevastopol was established in 1963. In addition to deep water physical oceanography, MHI has had a continuing interest in coastal and shelf processes, and operates a shelf mounted observational platform at a depth of 35 m in the Black Sea.

The research interests of MHI include: turbulence, hydrophysics, optics and biophysics, ocean-atmosphere interactions, wave theory, and dynamic and stocastic modelling. The institute has a substantial design, development, and manufacturing capability for the specialized instruments employed in its investigations. Because of time constraints, the WTEC team was unable to visit the acoustics facility at Odessa, and concentrated on the instrumentation developed at Sevastopol.


This report will focus on the instrumentation developed by MHI for its physical oceanographic investigations, and will not discuss those research activities.

MHI has developed a family of towed and lowered CTDs. Of the towable systems, Model MGI-1201 (see Figure Marine.1) can operate to a depth of 1.5 km and at speeds to 15 kts. It utilizes a 6,000 m single conductor cable. Measurements include temperature (resistance thermometry with a 50 m/sec time constant), conductivity (induction), and a strain gauge type pressure sensor. An interface unit, a digital display and output to an external personal computer, is supplied to provide power. This appears to be an improved model of the Model MGI-4204, which has a depth limitation of 1,000 m and a 1.5 sec measurement interval. The Model MHI-9201 towed body (see Figure Marine.2) has control surfaces and can be maneuvered in three dimensions. In addition to the CTD measurements, this unit also measures light attenuation spectrally and the intensity of chlorophyll "A" radiation. Its maximum depth is 200 m and the maximum towing speed is 12 kts.

MHI has developed a series of profiling systems that are lowered on a cable (see Figure Marine.3). They can be equipped with internal battery power and onboard data recording for use on the shelf with unsophisticated support vessels, or can be powered from the ship for operations to depths of 2.5 km. In general, they profile pressure, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, and distance to the bottom. They can be supplied with a 10 bottle water sampling module with about 1 liter samples. The Shick-3, the most advanced of these models, also contains an electromagnetic current meter, and can be outfitted with sensors for turbidity and chlorophyll fluorescence. The WTEC team was provided with information on a more recent sounder (Probe OLT; see Figure Marine.4), which measures current velocities with a multiaxis acoustical meter as well as the standard CTD capabilities. It has a 2 km depth limit.

MHI has developed vane, propeller, electromagnetic, and acoustic current meters. Most of these systems can be supplied with an internal microprocessor for autonomous operation for periods up to one year, or with data output to a personal computer. They cover a range of applications from the Shist-1, an acoustic shelf system that has a depth range of 50 m to the 3-D acoustic current meter Dit-1, which operates to 6 km and includes a CTD measurement capability. This unit stores data onboard for up to a year, and operates on twelve standard batteries. The team received a photograph of the institute's latest acoustic meter (see Figure Marine.5), but without specifications. All of the acoustic meters appear to be time-of-travel type instruments, rather than the Doppler type that is common in the United States. MHI has developed, and apparently will supply, individual sensors for temperature, conductivity, and a variety of chemical parameters such as dissolved oxygen. These units are designed for plug-in to standardized connectors. The institute also provides a family of position sensors (pitch, roll, and heading) for application to towed vehicles and ROVs.


The institute has developed a full suite of instruments for sampling hydrographic conditions from shallow to deep water. These instruments were described by Mr. Vladimir Rabinovich as being equivalent to those of "Neal Brown" (an American oceanographic instrument company). The institute's scientists have concentrated on acoustic current meters that measure velocity components at a point rather than utilizing the range-gated Doppler system. The worldwide charter of MHI has been severely reduced by present economic conditions; it would appear that instrument development efforts will be curtailed, as well.


Sensors and Devices for Oceanographic Survey.

Catalog of specification sheets of MHI instruments. 1993.

Marine Hydrophysical Institute. General brochure on MHI; in English and Russian, with some illustrations. 1992.

Marine Hydrophysical Institute. General description of MHI, ships, and towed systems. 1992.

Figure Marine.1. Towed CTD Instrument, Model MGI-1201

Figure Marine.2. Controllable Towed CTD Instrument With Optical Measurement Capability

Figure Marine.3. Lowered CTD Complex With Water Sampling Capability

Figure Marine.4. Probe OLT with CTD Measurement and Multiaxis Acoustic Current Meter

Figure Marine.5. New Acoustic Current Meter Device

Published: June 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian