Site: Institute of Marine Biology
Far East Branch, Russian Academy Sciences
17 Palchevsky Street
Vladivostok, 690041, Russia
Phone: (4232) 310905
Fax: (4232) 310900

Dates Visited: October 23, 1995 October 27, 1995

WTEC Attendees:

D. Walsh (report author), H. B. Ali, R. Blidberg, S. Chechin, M. J. DeHaemer, L. Gentry, J. Moniz, J. B. Mooney

Hosts:

Dr. Vitaly G. Tarasov

Acting Director

Leonid V. Dolgov, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, Foreign Relations

BACKGROUND

The Institute of Marine Biology of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1967. At the time of the WTEC visit, this organization employed 450 persons (300 research staff and 140-150 engineers and technicians). Within the Institute there are 20 laboratories and an auxiliary services group. In addition, there are four field stations and the Far East State Marine Reserve. Two smaller research vessels support seagoing projects.

In addition to the research ships, the institute conducts many dives to collect specimens and to do in situ research tasks. Most of the scientists are divers.

The basic focus for research activities is the near-shore coastal areas of the Russian Far East. The goal of the research is the balanced, conservative use of the marine resources of the region and the protection of these resources from environmental damage.

The WTEC team was at the institute for about two hours on the first visit and one and a half hours on the second. Located in a large building complex next to the ocean, just to the north of downtown Vladivostok, the facilities there appear to be very extensive. However, the entire first visit and most of the second were spent at the conference table in the acting director's office. Some handouts were given to the team and these are cited in the references section of this site report.

As with most of the other organizations visited during this trip, the institute is suffering from severe budget reductions since Perestroika in 1989. In order to maintain as many programs as possible and to keep their staff current, they have been developing cooperative programs with U.S. and Japanese marine science institutions. In the United States the work has been through the University of Washington and the University of Alaska. In Japan the work has been primarily with Hokkaido University.

The acting director said that Peter the Great Bay has the greatest biodiversity in East Asia as this area is influenced by both the Kuroshio (warm) and the Oyashio (cold) currents. Thus it is a very rich area for marine biological research.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

The research activities of this institute fall into the following basic categories:

In terms of specific activities, work is being done to study the effects of dredging in the Kuriles, the impact of nuclear waste dumping in the Sea of Okhotsk, the assessment of fish stocks in Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk, and the biofouling of offshore platforms (Sakhalin). In addition, there is environmental assessment work being done in the river delta area where the governments of North Korea, China, and Manchuria propose building a major new seaport and railhead. The Russians believe that there will be too great an opportunity to have major pollution incidents in an area that is ecologically very fragile.

The team was particularly interested in Dr. Terasov's explanation of his research in the Kuriles at a site where both photosynthesis and chemosynthesis processes are found in virtually adjacent areas. Furthermore, the chemosynthetic activity was at depths as shallow as 20 meters. Normally, such activity is found at benthic depths in the sea. The site in the Kuriles is a volcanic crater which has one side just barely open to the sea. It is an ideal location to study some of the fundamental biological processes in the sea.

Dr. Terasov mentioned that he had a videotape of the work he had done at the site. Time did not permit viewing during the first visit, so the WTEC team return to the institute for this purpose on Friday, October 27.

SUMMARY

The Institute of Marine Biology appears to have an important mission in this region. The work that it does helps optimize the rational use of marine resources while at the same time studying those influences that could lead to degradation of resources through pollution.

REFERENCES

Institute of Marine Biology. 1995 pamphlet describing the institute and the work of its laboratories. Contains a listing of publications published by each laboratory.

Institute of Marine Biology. One-page handout, dated 12/93, which provides a shorter version of the pamphlet's information.


Published: August 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian