The Institute of Oceanology ( former name Institute for Marine Research and Oceanology up to 1985) was founded on 1st July, 1973 in Varna by the Order ? 132/22.06.1973 of The Council of Ministers. Its scope of activities embraces: investigations on marine physics, chemistry, hydrology, meteorology and climatology, sea bottom geomorphology, hydrodynamics, lithodynamics, geomorphology of the coastal zone and creation of scientifically grounded norms for design, construction and exploitation of marine hydrotechnical and port structures with the aim to use effectively the Black Sea resources.

The Institute was set up by uniting the existing branch of Coastal Marine Research of the Scientific Center at the State Economic Unit (SEU) Water Transport (28 staff members), both Department of Hydrology and Hydrochemistry and Underwater Investigations Laboratory of the Scientific Center at the SEU Fish Industry ( 15 staff members), and two staff members of the Marine Meteorology and Climatology Department of the Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology.

From the very beginning the Institute faced serious and responsible tasks related with the complex study of the Black Sea. The following research units were formed: Department of Marine Physics and the Adjacent Atmosphere, Marine Chemistry Department, Department of Hydrodynamics and Lithodynamics of the Coastal Zone ( Coastal Zone Dynamics since 1989) with Laboratory of Marine Structures, Underwater Investigations Laboratory ( from 1987 to 1997 Department of Underwater Tools and Technologies ), Tools and Equipment Laboratory. In 1978 a Department of Marine Geomorphology and Quaternary Geology was set up which later in 1989 was separated into Marine Geomorphology and Palaeogeography Department, Department of Marine Geology and Geochemistry and Laboratory of Marine Geophysics. In 1997 these three research units were united again into a Department of Marine Geology ( renamed in 1999 to Marine Geology and Archeology Department ). A Department of Marine Biology and Ecology was founded in 1987. In 1989 the Laboratory of Marine Structures became a separate research unit up to 1997 when together with the Department of Underwater Tools and Technologies and the Oceanographic Tools Laboratory united in a Department of Oceanotechniques. The research units constantly increased from 5 to 10 ( during 1989 - 1997) and then were reduced to 6 which embraced almost all scientific aspects of the oceanology: marine physics, chemistry, geology and biology, coastal zone dynamics and oceanotechniques.

Since its foundation up to 1990, the Institute of Oceanology had been in constant growth, setting up new research units, providing new equipment, increasing the staff number that reached 191 persons. The capacity building of the personnel rose permanently ( Table 1). Since 1991 part of the supporting staff has been discharged but the research staff was kept. Presently about one third of the researchers attain academic rank and half of the all have a scientific degree. During the period 1973 - 1996 Director of the Institute was Prof. Z. Belberov, during 1996 2000 it was Prof. A. Konsulov and since 2001 up to now - Dr. H. Slabakov. Table 2 shows the leading staff of the IO - BAS. Thirteen of the founders of the Institute still continue working in it ( Table 3 ).

In 1976 the construction of the building of IO - BAS was completed and the motor boat Izsledovatel 2 put into operation. In 1980 was created a deep-diving complex and building of a research base Shkorpilovtsi with an experimental peer started. It was formally opened in 1983. In pursuance of the government decree 180/02.12.1983 in 1984 the R/V AKADEMIK (1225 t displacement ) was purchased and reconstructed. A mini-submersible PC-8 was bought in 1987. In 1988 a technical complex SHELF-100 for marine geotechnical surveys started operations.

From 1973 to 1988 the funding of the Institute has been constantly increasing and reached 4.5 mln. levs, the fixed capital exceeded 10 mln. levs. During that period the expenses for research activities prevailed over wage fund and the social insurance was 45% of the total expenses. After 1990 the budget subsidy from BAS has been decreasing repeatedly which significantly hinders the research activities and the maintenance of the available equipment. The structure of the budget was changed whereupon the wage fund plus social insurance became about 68% from the total expenses and the expenses for research and development dropped to 10%. Recently, about one fourth of the income part of the Institute's budget is formed mainly of incomes from projects with international organizations, ministries, departments, municipalities and firms from the country. Over 200 research projects have been developed among them 22 international - funded by EC, NATO, UNESCO, etc.; 36 are funded by the National Council for Scientific Research; 45 - by ministries, departments and firms from the country as the Ministry of Defense, Geological Committee, Vodokanalproekt, Geozashtita Co., Burgas Ship Yard, Port of Varna, Thermal Power Station - Varna, Varna Municipality, etc.

Since the beginning of its activities the Institute of Oceanology has established international contacts and develops intensive international scientific collaboration. Up to 1989 the main work was related with the programmes World Ocean and Global System for Environmental Monitoring carried out jointly with similar institutes from the member- states of the Council for Economical Mutual Assistance, such as Institute of Oceanology (Moscow), South Department of the Institute of Oceanology ( Gelendgik), Atlantic Department of the Institute of Oceanology (Kaliningrad), Soyuzmoniiproekt (Moscow), Moscow State University M.V. Lomonosov, Moscow Technical Institute, State Oceanographic Institute (St. Petersburg), Geological Institute ( Kiev), University of Odessa, Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas (Sevastopol), Institute of Water Construction (Gdansk), Institute of Geology (Warsaw), Institute of Marine Research (Warnemunde), Romanian Institute for Marine Research (Constanta), Institute of Marine Geology and Geoecology (Bucharest), Institute of Oceanology (Havana), Institute of Earth Sciences (Hanoi).

Since 1990, joint projects with EC, NATO, IOC - UNESCO, etc. have been initiated. The Institute took part in the Global Programme for Studying the World Ocean Impact on the Earth climate (Razrezi), the international programmes Global Environment and Interaction between the Danube and the North-Western Part of the Black Sea. Active international collaboration is going on with world-wide leading research centers as Woodshole Oceanographic Institution, Research Institute (Mistic, Massachusetts ), Oceanographic Center - Southampton , IFREMER (Brest), Forel Institute - University of Geneva, Institute of Chrystalography, Mineralogy and Structural Chemistry (Vienna), Middle east Technical Unuversity (Ankara), Institute of Marine Sciences and Technologies (Izmir), National Center of Marine Research (Athens), Institute of Computing Mathematics - RAS (Moscow), etc.

The scientists of IO are authors and co-authors of more than 1000 publications among which the monographs: Hydrology and Geology of The Black Sea Western Part, 1979 (in Russian), Geo-geophysical Investigations of the Bulgarian Black Sea Zone, 1980 (in Russian), Interaction of the Atmosphere, Hydrosphere and Lithosphere in the Black Sea Nearshore Zone ( Kamchiya '77, '78, '79), Vol. 1, 1980, Vol. 2, 1982, Vol.3, 1983, Oil and Gas-genetic Studies of the Bulgarian Section of the Black Sea, 1986, Dynamical Processes in Coastal regions, 1990, Geological Evolution of the Western Part of the Black Sea Basin during the Neogene - Quaternary Age, 1990, Sustainable Development and Use of Marine Biological Resources, 1999, Biological Resources of the World Ocean, 2000, Catalogue of Oceongraphic Data and Information Products in Bulgaria, 2000, etc. The reduction of the budget for research activities did not lead to decrease of the number of scientific publications due to the intensification of the scientific work. During the period 1976 - 1991, 21 issues of the series Oceanology were published and since 1992 up to now - 4 volumes of Proceedings of the Institute of Oceanology.

The library of IO was founded in 1977 and up to now keeps about 10 000 volumes of books, series, periodicals, reports, etc. concerning the scope of research activities carried out in the Institute.

The scientists of the Institute have acquired more than 50 certifications for innovations, 9 patents and 3 more are in a procedure for approval.
The scientists of IO have been lecturing in higher schools and universities since 1980. Their activities grow wider after 1991 when the subjects Oceanology and Marine Ecology were included in the curriculums of the Navy School N. I. Vaptsarov. They read lectures on more than 50 subjects in the Navy School, Technical University, Medical University, Shoumen University, etc. Graduation papers guidance has started since 1983 and up to now over 100 graduation students have been assisted. From 1989 has started full-time education of Ph.D. students.

     Within 35 years the Institute of Oceanology has won recognition as a leading center of marine sciences in Bulgaria.