Action has been taken for mucilage! Marmara’s digital twin is released

Scientists working at METU Marine Sciences Institute, which carried out important research on mucilage during the 40-day Marmara Sea voyage on the Bilim-2 Ship, will continue their work in August.

METU Marine Sciences Institute Deputy Director Assoc. Dr. Mustafa Yücel, in his statement, said that there are Marmara and Black Sea expeditions planned within the scope of the Marmara Sea Integrated Modeling System (MARMOD) Project with the Bilim-2 ship.

Yücel stated that they have delayed these expeditions due to the seriousness of the damage caused by the mucilage, and that they have been continuing their work in Marmara since the beginning of June.

Stating that they finished the first leg of the expeditions as of July 7 and returned to METU Marine Sciences Institute in Mersin, Assoc. Dr. Yücel said, “We had the chance to watch how mucilage and the situation it created changed day by day at some points. How was the Marmara ecosystem, especially at the beginning of June and July, and how did it come to be with the evolution of the mucilage explosion? said.

Assoc. Dr. Yücel noted that they analyzed a significant part of the data and took various water and soil samples.

Pointing out that they mostly took mucilage samples, Yücel said, “Mucilage was not seen much on the surface from the beginning of June to the middle of June. We started to detect mucilage mostly in the first 30 meters of the sea. The analysis of the mucilage samples, which we collected especially from the sea, is still ongoing.” he said.


Assoc. Dr. Yücel stated that there are nearly 120 observation stations in different locations, and that they repeatedly worked at 234 oceanographic stations in many locations during the 40-day expedition.

Explaining that the in-sea scanner device they placed behind the ship took a picture of the mucilage by taking sections of 500 kilometers, Assoc. Dr. Yücel shared the main points of the study as follows:

“We can say this clearly. The Sea of ​​Marmara has been in a structure that has been gradually warming and losing its oxygen for years. It is very rich in nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. This has been the case for years, but this has increased even more in the last 10 years. Our first findings have been that the nitrogen and phosphorus levels, especially in Marmara, have increased. In fact, it reflects the current trend. There is neither too much increase nor too much decrease compared to previous years. Unfortunately, Marmara still maintains the slow accumulation of nitrogen and phosphorus in the sea. Nitrogen and phosphorus are very loaded in Marmara.

The first thing that causes mucilage is the excess of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in the environment. On top of that, there are factors such as the increase in temperature and the stagnant sea, but the main problem is that there are too many nutrients in Marmara to feed the mucilage. That was already the case, and we found that this is the case this year as well. We did not reach any finding because there was a very, very strong input on it. We can say that with certainty.”

Yücel stated that the oxygen in Marmara decreased to very low levels after the first 30 meters, and this situation became increasingly acute when approaching the east.

Expressing that they found the sea like this this year as well, Yücel said, “Especially when you go further inland, the oxygen deficiency in places such as the Gulf of Izmit and the Gulf of Gemlik decreases completely to the sub-zero level. It remains there. This was also the case in the last summer months. That was the typical character of the period.” made its assessment.


Yücel stated that they found that very little oxygen still enters the deep parts of the Eastern Marmara at 1210 meters, called the “Çınarcık basin”, and that this gives a little breath to the system.

Pointing out that this factor prevents the system from getting worse and worse for now, Yücel said, “Marmara still maintains its coma state in this sense, but we have not lost it yet. If pollution reduction measures are implemented, it will of course be possible to return from here.”

Stating that they reached the nitrogen, phosphorus and oxygen results with the special samplers in their hands, Yücel noted that they had thrown nets to understand the density of the mucilage, especially in the upper layer of the mucilage, as well as the water samples.

Underlining that mucilage, which is not seen in deep waters, appears to be a problem whether it collapses to the bottom or not, Yücel said, “We focused more on this in the second half of June. We did not encounter mucilage in samples of sediments taken with octopus, especially from 30-40 meters and deeper places. We can say this very clearly. We took samples from 1210 meters, the deepest part of the Çınarçık Pit, 2 times from different places, and no mucilage was found on their surface. We did not find any evidence of hydrogen sulfide in the East Marmara. Hydrogen sulfide accumulation is not particularly in the deep waters of the Marmara. We can count this among our findings.” he said.


Stating that they also examined the effect of mucilage if it collapsed into the dark sea, Assoc. Dr. Yücel said that this experiment showed that the first effect of mucilage would be to consume oxygen.

Referring to the possibility of mucilage collapsing in deep and dark waters, Yücel said, “We can clearly say that mucilage starts after 10 meters, the first 10 meters is clean. It is dense between 10-25 meters, there is no mucilage after 30 meters. According to the results at the beginning of July, “It is homogeneously distributed all over the Marmara Sea. We found that it spread even more in early July than in June.” said.

Stating that the mucilage that stops oxygen production will start to decompose, the first effect of this will be oxygen consumption, Assoc. Dr. Yücel said, “We think that if the deteriorated bacterial occurs in the first 30 meters, it is an oxygen that can be replaced by the consumed oxygen. Therefore, the fact that the mucilage does not descend into deep water seems to be a chance for Marmara in this respect.” made its assessment.

Expressing that they continue to research the structure of mucilage, Yücel also conveyed the first results.

Yücel said, “There are organic structures in the Marmara 2021 mucilage, similar to the mucilage structures seen in the Adriatic in 2007 and in the Marmara Sea in 2007-2008. This shows that the species that caused that biological explosion became active in Marmara this year. It shows us that a problem that has happened before is actually happening again in Marmara.” he said.

Noting that the Bilim-2 Ship will continue its scientific studies in the Sea of ​​Marmara in August and that they will continue to examine the state of the sea every 3 months, Yücel stated that oceanographic voyages will continue in the Marmara Sea for another 1-1.5 years.

Yücel explained that they will continue to work on improving and rehabilitating the Marmara Sea by making use of science, that they will carry out mucilage estimation studies using artificial intelligence, and that they will produce detailed statistical studies by bringing together historical data.


With these studies, “Can a system that can predict mucilage be developed?” Expressing that they will seek an answer to the question, Yücel continued as follows:

“As part of the MARMOD Project carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization under the coordination of METU, Marmara’s digital twin work continues. What is a digital twin? We are creating a high-resolution complex mathematical model that will visualize the existing data in Marmara. We are creating an ecosystem model that includes physics, chemistry and biology. One thing the user can do about the simulations of this model is the digital twin. What will the digital twin do? In particular, the institutions, municipalities or our administrators implementing the Marmara Sea Protection Action Plan will be able to see the results of the measures they will take. The administrators will be able to test which decision will affect the Marmara and how. ”

Assoc. Dr. Expressing that they think the biological explosion will lose its effect this summer, Yücel said, “We do not expect a new mucilage explosion this summer or autumn, but nature is of course difficult to predict.”