"It's nice to see a grandiose project come to life to create the first scientific drone vessel in our country, which will soon study the Black Sea and Azov waters in autonomous mode. For six years, many specialists from all over the country worked on the project, including students – talented young people from different universities, and together they managed to create a magnificent example of the vessel of the future. "Pioneer-M" is a true pioneer in its field. I hope that in the coming years Russia will have a whole flotilla of such vessels capable of conducting promising oceanographic, hydrobiological and hydrochemical research. I am sure that the results of the work of "Pioneer-M" will bring Russian science to a fundamentally new level," said the head of ASI Svetlana Chupsheva.
In September, the vessel will arrive in Sevastopol, and soon, after passing the necessary preparatory procedures, it will be ready to conduct sea expeditions. Among the SevSU partners who are interested in them, are the participants of the world-class scientific and educational center "MoreAgroBioTech". Students' participation in such expeditions is especially important.
"Pioneer-M" will open previously inaccessible areas for scientists and will allow them to quickly conduct expeditions to places of environmental pollution or extraordinary natural phenomena.
SevSU scientists and their colleagues from other universities and scientific institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences are conducting research that allows them to gain knowledge about global processes in the Black Sea. The study of local phenomena gives a more detailed picture and may have applied significance.
"There are zones in Crimea that are comfortable for a variety of extremophile organisms — that is, those who feel comfortable at high temperatures, in environments with a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide or in a hypersalted environment. And it is clear that not all such locations can be approached by a large ship, but "Pioneer-M" is more compact, highly mobile, and perhaps it will help to find new habitats for extremophiles. We are conducting similar studies, and "Pioneer-M" will help to select interesting samples," says Anastasia Lantushenko, leading researcher at the laboratory "Bioresource potential of marine territory" of Sevastopol State University.
The advantage of the "Pioneer-M" vessel for researchers will also be its mobility — we expect it to be able to carry out voyages "by order" of scientists.
"It takes much time for big research vessels to prepare an expedition, they work according to their own schedule, and they are not able to reach the necessary destination in an hour. "Pioneer-M", though, is a highly transportable vessel. If we see that some kind of nonstandard environmental situation has occured and we need to be there right now, "Pioneer-M" will help. For example, if the water temperature has changed dramatically somewhere, and that can affect the state of the biota, or if a pollution or local flowering has occurred, we will use the "Pioneer-M" vessel. We can miss such phenomena while equipping a larger vessel," Anastasia Lantushenko explained.
Similar studies can be useful for the resort industry as well. The study of the Black Sea plankton and their interaction with jellyfish will help predict the growth of the latter's population near various coastal areas.
For example, in August of this year, scientists recorded a large accumulation of jellyfish in the sea. At the same time, the number of these organisms in the last 10 years has been increasing both in the Black and in The Azov seas. Scientists note that the accumulation and mass death of jellyfish lead to sea pollution, and the Rhizostomae Pulmo jellyfish can damage the skin and are especially dangerous for those who have an allergic reaction.
"Phytoplankton are the smallest algae. Zooplankton are larger organisms that feed on these algae, and they are food for fish and other inhabitants of the sea. Studying the dynamics of the growth of the volume of phyto- and zooplankton and their interaction with jelly-bodied organisms will help predict surges in the number of jellyfish, or vice versa — its absence on the coast, due to which the holiday-makers will be more comfortable there," said Anastasia Lantushenko.
Also, scientists of SevSU, within the framework of the strategic project "Digital twin of the marine territory ecosystem", plan to investigate upwelling — the rise of deep ocean waters to the surface — on the newest research vessel "Pioneer-M".
We heard about that from Vladislav Evstigneev, a leading researcher at the Regional Climate Systems Research Laboratory.