Since the early 1990s the persistent reports about the irreversibly degrading Black Sea have started to disappear. A large set of data, reflecting the temporal and spatial variability of microalgae and hydrochemical parameters in Western Black Sea waters (WBS), collected in 2001–2002 (EU 5th FP project “daNubs”), allows us to compare the present-day ecosystem functioning to previous ones and to certainly conclude on positive signs of relaxation. The years 2001 and 2002 were without ample, negative biological and hydrochemical events in the WBS. Nutrient general trend was a decreasing one since the late 1980s, and inorganic phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations were frequently below the method detection limits during summer autumn periods of 2001–2002. The shelf waters were properly oxygenated. The phytoplankton community was producing biomass in a decreasing tendency, especially obviously since 1995. Simultaneously, there was an increase in Si:P and Si:N molar ratios and concurrent increase in the diversity of mass algal species (mainly diatoms) but only a few of them generated exceptional blooms. Reduction of the ratios between phytoplankton and zooplankton biomasses became evident. The observed ecological status in 2001–2002 confirms that the Black Sea is no longer a reference point for progressive water quality deterioration.

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