Oceanographic Department is responsible for the study of physical, chemical and geological processes in the sea, and basic meteorological parameters. These activities are carried out primarily for the safety of navigation in the Adriatic Sea, as well as for various multipurpose applications in the hydrographic survey, nautical charting, ecology, etc. Main tasks include professional and scientific research of dynamic processes in the sea: sea currents, tides, wind-generated surface waves and internal waves; physical (thermohaline, hydroacoustic, optical) and chemical (nutrients, dissolved oxygen, pH) properties of the sea water; submarine and seabed geology. Basic meteorological measurements and observations are performed while studying interactions between the atmosphere and the sea.
Besides professional work which involves drawing up of different research and ecological studies and reports (e.g. for electrical or optical submarine cables, submarine water pipelines, sewage systems, oil and gas exploitation, etc.), Oceanographic Department has developed a notable scientific-research work. Members of its staff have participated in many original scientific papers published in Current Contents and Science Citation Index journals. They have published various technical papers and a number of conference reports at various international and domestic conferences. They participate in the scientific projects supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, and in the Croatian national monitoring programme entitled "Systematic Research of the Adriatic Sea as the Basis for Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia - Project Adriatic”.
Oceanographic Department consists of four laboratories:
Physical Oceanography Laboratory
Physical Oceanography Laboratory examines physical processes in the sea and their interactions with the atmosphere, investigating the following parameters:
- thermohaline properties (temperature, salinity and sigma-t values)
- sea currents
- optical properties (sea transparency and colour, turbidity)
- sea level oscillations
- wind-generated surface waves
Laboratory is equipped with the following instruments:
- SEABIRD SBE-17 and MEERESTECHNIK multiprobes, for measurements of temperature and conductivity (salinity) with the following characteristics: temperature range from -5 to +35°C, accuracy ± 0.004°C; conductivity range 0-7 S/m, accuracy ± 0.0003 S/m
- AANDERAA TR-7 thermistor chain, for measurements of sea temperature, accuracy ± 0.1°C
- KAHLISCO photometer and turbidimeter
- AANDERAA RCM-4S and RCM-7 current-meters, for measurements of speed and direction of sea currents, with the following characteristics: current speed range from 1.0 to 250 cm/s, accuracy ± 1 cm/s; current direction resolution of 0.35°, accuracy ± 5°
- Permanent and portable tide gauge devices A. OTT types X and IV, and FUESS and SEBA, for measurements of sea level changes, with the following characteristics: range of 250 cm, analogous record (pen or pencil), mechanical clock
- DATAWELL waveriders, for measurements of surface waves, with the following characteristics: range of 10 (20) m, analogue record
Besides the above equipment, which is installed for a particular time period in a limited area (due to high costs of instruments and complex operations), there is an established network of tide gauge stations along the Eastern Adriatic coast (Rovinj, Bakar - owned by the Department of Geophysics of the University of Zagreb; Zadar; Split Harbour; Split Marjan - owned by the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries; Dubrovnik), providing continuous records of long-period sea level data in the Adriatic Sea since 1955.
Chemical Oceanography Laboratory
Chemical Oceanography Laboratory examines chemical properties of the sea for the protection of marine environment, investigating the following parameters:
- nutrients (nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, phosphates, silicates)
- oxygen saturation
Laboratory is equipped with the following instruments:
- NISKIN samplers
- SUPERSCAN 3 spectrophotometer with the following characteristics: wavelength range 190 - 900 nm, Abs range 0.140 - 3.000 Abs, wavelength accuracy 0.2 nm, wavelength readout 4 digit electronic readout in increments of 0.1 nm
- WINKLER box for determination of dissolved oxygen
- WISSENSCHAFTLICH - TECHNISCHE pH-meter for determination of pH in the sea water
- YEO KAL ENVIRONMENTAL ELECTRONICS salinometer, model 6011Mk1V, for determination of salinity (high precision method)
- REICHERT SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS refractometer for determination of salinity (low precision method).
Marine Geology Laboratory
Important segment of marine geology is the production of maps and charts of the seafloor sediments. Geological charting is based on the scientific groundwork for distinguishing different types of surface sediments, studying the origin, character and thickness of recent sediments, as well as their development in the sea in relation to the sea level oscillations generated by climate and tectonics.
Sub-Bottom Profiler is used to obtain graphic records of shallow stratigraphy of the seafloor subsurface, while Side-Scan Sonar provides graphic records of the seafloor topography, detecting particular objects on the seafloor surface.
Marine geology uses geophysical measurements to study mineral raw materials and energy sources below the seafloor surface, such as oil and gas.
Meteorological Laboratory collects in-situ meteorological data, which are used to investigate interactions between the sea and the atmosphere. Laboratory is equipped with the following instruments:
- In-situ meteorological instruments (Pitot tube - wind speed measurements, psychrometer - air temperature and humidity measurements, barometer - air pressure measurements)
- Automatic meteorological station AANDERAA 2700, with sensors for air temperature, wind speed and direction, air pressure, humidity, precipitation and net radiation.