- Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles
- Marine Conservation
- Terrestrial Conservation
- Laboratory Research
- Media & Public Relations
- GIS Mapping
- Renewable Energy Sources
- Information Technology
- Legal Work
- Administrative Work
Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles
The eastern Aegean region is home to a large number of marine mammals which are classified either as at risk or data deficient. This habitat is in desperate need of protection, as it is subjected to a wide range of anthropogenic threats. The aim of Archipelagos is to better understand and monitor the habitat structure and population dynamics of cetaceans around the eastern Aegean islands. The ultimate goal is the implementation of “Marine Protected Areas” and supporting effective conservation actions and management policies in order to protect the cetacean and other species biodiversity.
The Aegean, just like the whole Mediterranean Sea, is influenced by human activities such as shipping, tourism, unregulated fisheries practices and pollution, which threaten the survival of marine mammal populations. A vital sector of the eastern Aegean economy are the fisheries, which cause an unavoidable interaction between the marine mammals and the fishermen who are after the same prey.
The main goals of our research are:
- Monitoring the habitat use, abundance and distribution of cetaceans, Mediterrenean monk seals and sea turtles.
- Studying the population structure and its dynamics.
- Studying the behavior through visual and acoustic data.
- Investigating the impact of major threats, such as fishing and tourism, on the cetacean behavior.
- Our current work includes the following activities:
- Conducting boat-based surveys to collect data on cetacean abundance, distribution and behavior.
- Conducting land-based surveys to collect data on cetacean behavior and distribution without interacting with them.
- Collecting data about different types of marine vessels, their distance from the focal group, fishing activities and marine debris during the boat and land surveys.
- Assessing the populations of resident, transient and seasonal cetaceans through photo-ID.
- Developing an online photo-ID network.
- Using a hydrophone to collect acoustic data.
- Creating GIS maps to pinpoint critical habitats and understand the factors threatening them.
- Delivering first aid to the animals, rescuing them, performing necropsies and collecting data related to stranded individuals (e.g. cetaceans, seals and sea turtles).
The monitoring of marine mammal populations focuses on the sea around Samos and extends to the islands of Ikaria, Fourni, Patmos, Arki and Lipsi. From the research base of Pythagorio in Samos, land based surveys are also conducted from a number of observational points in different parts of the island. The boats used by Archipelagos to carry out marine mammal surveys are anchored in Samos Marina, a little port next to the main research base.
Research surveys can focus on:
- Dolphin populations, including common dolphins, bottlenose dophins, striped dolphins and Risso’s dolphins.
- Whale populations - sperm whales, Cuvier’s beaked whales and occasionally fin whales.
- Mediterranean monk seals.
- Sea turtle populations, including green turtles and loggerhead turtles.
The main task of the marine mammal team is to monitor the study area through both land and boat-based surveys in order to analyze the abundance, distribution and behavior of marine mammals and turtles. Data on various human impacts (marine vessels, fishing activity, debris) are also collected. During surveys, the team is responsible for behavioral data collection, photographing individuals and later cataloging the photograph. All these data are recorded and stored in a database at the main research base for later analysis.
During marine mammal pods sightings, the Archipelagos marine mammal team gathers photographic material used for identifying individuals inhabiting the studied area. To facilitate this process, all pictures are sorted, cropped and named. The identification is done by comparing different morphological aspects of the body and fin, such as patches of color, shape, scars, nicks, notches etc.
Once the individuals have been identified and classified, they are introduced into a photo-ID catalog which includes all the cetaceans spotted so far. As a result of this process, the team can get a better idea of the population size in the study area, compare it along the coming years and identify the social structure and residency pattern of target species.
As a result of this process, the team can get a better idea of the size of the population in the studied area and compare it along the coming years.
Mediterranean monk seals are considered to be the second most endangered marine mammals in the world. It is estimated that only 450 individuals remain. One of the most important surviving populations of the species resides along the Greek and Turkish coasts of the Aegean Sea. Research on monk seal population includes monitoring the nesting and feeding areas as well as assessing the interaction with fisheries.
Since the spring of 2014, Archipelagos has been involved in daily monitoring and conservation of a young monk seal which displays a highly unusual behavior, approaching inhabited coastal areas and touristic beaches. Archipelagos’ team works closely with the local community in a unique conservation effort to ensure the wellbeing of this special seal pup and facilitate her reintroduction to the natural environment.
In the eastern Aegean, there are no extensive nesting beaches for turtles. However, numerous sites can be found on the island every summer. At the same time, rich feeding areas are abundant in the region, therefore, turtle encounters occur year round. Archipelagos’ turtle monitoring project includes various activities ranging from observation at sea, monitoring the nests, administering first aid to injured turtles and performing necropsies of turtles found dead in the region.
The marine mammal team utilizes ArcMap GIS for mapping the populations of species found in the Aegean Sea. By applying the data collected during surveys and fieldwork, we can show the distribution and abundance of different species, as well as hot spots and migration patterns in the sea.
Stranding Response Project
Archipelagos’ team takes part in rescuing stranded marine mammals and turtles when such incidents occur in the study area. After being notified of a stranding, the team members assess the situation and provide first aid in order to improve the health of the animal. If the individual is already dead, necropsy is carried out to determine the cause of death and to collect samples for analyses (for example toxicological, DNA and stomach content). Through this work, we can gain a better understanding of the factors that threaten the populations of these charismatic animals and take actions that will efficiently protect them.
Latest Projects of the TeamVIEW ALL -
Eco-Navigation – A citizen science platform engaging sea enthusiasts in responsible marine life observation, Summer 2018The Aegean Sea hosts some of the most important remaining marine mammal and sea turtle populations in the Mediterranean. Thanks to their unique biodiversity and pristine waters, the islands attract many sea enthusiasts all year long, especially during the summer season. Bad encounters between boats and mammals are common and can have disastrous con...
Dolphin Communication vs. Noise Pollution in the Aegean Sea – a study about cetacean vocalization and how it is affected by anthropogenic impact, June 2018, Summer 2018“Noise pollution” in the marine environment has been an increasing concern for conservationists and marine researchers in the past decades. Underwater sounds caused by ships have no impact on humans, however, they may have severe effects on marine life, especially marine mammals. Engine noise from boats increases with size, power, load and s...
With over 18,000 km of coastline and one of the largest fishing fleets in Europe, the monitoring of marine activities in Greece is not a simple task. The Aegean Sea supports exceptional biodiversity, including rare and protected marine habitats and species. For over a decade, Archipelagos has been collecting data and monitoring important ecosystems of the region, assessing habitats and populations as well as the different factors impacting them. Knowledge acquired in this way enables us to develop successful, targeted management and conservation plans.
Fisheries have been an activity of vital importance to the island and Greek coastal communities for thousands of years. However, over the past couple of decades, marine resources have become overexploited, frequently through the use of destructive practices. If drastic measures are not introduced, the fishing industry will face the risk of collapse. Archipelagos’ work to prevent this threat includes a combination of the following projects:
Seagrass Meadows (Posidonia oceanica)
Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows play an important role in the ecosystem and provide important services for humans. They ensure the maintenance of physical, chemical and biological conditions and provide a habitat for many different species, while acting as nursery, hunting and predator areas. Furthermore, the meadows mediate flow and prevent coastal erosion by stabilizing the seabeds and decreasing the water power and current. P. oceanica meadows are identified as a priority habitat type for conservation in the Habitats Directive (Dir. 92/43/CEE) by European and national legislation.
Surveys have a wide range of focus, including:
- Mapping Posidonia seagrass meadows through a combination of boat and kayak surveys
- Assessing the impact caused by mooring, illegal trawling activity, invasive species and aquaculture through sonar and visual data collection, as well as by using loggers
- Experimental replantation of Posidonia seagrass
- Experimental installation of sustainable mooring systems over seagrass meadows
- Evaluation of the health of Posidonia meadows via under-water surveys
Coralligenous reefs are frequently referred to as the best kept secret of the Mediterranean. Because of the lack of awareness, they have been greatly overlooked in terms of conservation, partially due to the lack of efficient research on these habitats in the Aegean. In cooperation with UNEPMAP-RAC/SPA, we are confirming the location of coralligenous reefs based on a combination of data acquired from fishermen and boat-based surveys. By producing maps and putting pressure on the authorities, we strive to enforce EU legislation that bans trawling over reefs which causes their irreversible destruction. Our work includes:
- Participatory GIS surveys and boat-based surveys with the use of a cartographic camera, structure scanner and an ROV.
- Creating a map of coralligenous reefs in the eastern Aegean.
Coastal Biodiversity and Invasive Species
Fishermen and scientists have observed an increased influx of invasive species into the Aegean Sea that originates from both the Red Sea and from ballast waters of cargo ships. This sometimes causes important ecosystem changes, affecting both habitats and fisheries’ production. Aiming to understand the extent of the problem in the Aegean, Archipelagos monitors the biodiversity of shallow, littoral zone ecosystems of the eastern Aegean Sea as well as the interaction of invasive species within the coastal zone ecosystems and fisheries landings. The data collected enables us to get an understanding of local conditions, ecosystem changes, processes and threats. Projects have a wide range of focus, including:
- Conducting biodiversity assessments of fish, invertebrates and algae, according to international protocols
- Collecting data on invasive species via underwater visual census surveys and questionnaires in order to understand the factors influencing the species distribution as well as the impacts on the ecosystem
- Creating GIS maps which provide an overview of species distribution
- Determining impacts of the factors threatening protected species and ecosystems using bio-indicator species
- Experimental installation of artificial reefs and sustainable mooring systems
Shipping Risk Analysis
The Mediterranean is considered to be of high risk for major spills from large cargo ships and tankers. However, only a medium level of preparedness to deal with such accidents exists. The main shipping areas in the Aegean Sea have largely unmonitored shipping traffic and are considered to be of even higher risk, as over 75% of all Mediterranean maritime accidents have been recorded in this region. Research in this field focuses on:
- Assessing and analyzing the shipping risk.
- Developing prevention measures.
The increasing demand for seafood, along with continued overfishing, have resulted in intensified aquaculture production in the Mediterranean. Recent aquaculture developments have been carried out with a focus on market demand, creating strong impacts on coastal ecosystems, wild fish stocks and local communities. Archipelagos strives to implement more sustainable aquaculture practices and to assess the impacts of units operating over intensively. Work in this field includes:
- Analyzing the impact of aquaculture on coastal habitats and the accuracy of existing EIAs.
- Collecting preliminary data to identify the impacts on biodiversity caused by different aquaculture practices and creating models of more sustainable approaches to aquaculture.
- Cooperating with a medium sized aquaculture company on Leros island to modify its practices in order to create an eco-friendly model that respects the carrying capacity of the area.
Latest Projects of the TeamVIEW ALL -
- Beneath the waves of the Mediterranean Sea a silent invasion is taking place, unseen by anyone above. The invaders are foreign species from all over the world, allowed transport by the hand of man. And they are here to stay. These types of incursion are far from uncommon around the world, but no place is...
- Posidionia oceanica, an engineering species in danger Posidonia oceanica is a marine flowering plant, also called ‘seagrass’. It is at the basis of most Mediterranean costal ecosystems. As an engineering species, it provides a lot of services and benefits for both humans and wildlife, by supporting marine life (algae, fish, and invert), enhancing b...
The islands of the eastern Aegean are home to a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Thick pine forests, dense oak woods and green riparian valleys linked to rare island freshwater ecosystems can be found here, alongside garrigue and maquis types of vegetation. Samos is the only island in the Mediterranean where golden jackals can be found and the only place in Greece where Mediterranean chameleons still survive. The island of Ikaria supports an ancient holm oak forest, which is more than 500 years old. The surrounding islands and islets are important transit stations, feeding grounds and breeding spots for a large number of protected birds, including flamingos, Eleonora’s falcons and Audouin’s gulls.
Archipelagos initiated its actions with focus on marine research and conservation, but the field of action gradually expanded to cover the terrestrial island habitats, which are also of great environmental importance. Both marine and terrestrial ecosystems are integral parts of a unified system and effective protection can only be achieved if we treat them as a whole.
Archipelagos’ terrestrial research focuses on:
- Rare wetland habitats: the protected Alyki salt marsh, Mesokampos salt marsh and Potokaki pools in the southeastern part of Samos.
- Internationally important and protected bird species: greater flamingo, ruddy shelduck, Eleonora’s falcon, Audouin’s gull, Scopoli’s shearwater etc.
- Mammals: golden jackals, wild boars, beech martens, weasels, hares and small rodents.
- Reptiles and amphibians: Mediterranean chameleons,Caspian whip snakes, Balkan terrapins, tree frogs and numerous other species.
- Insects: dragonflies, butterflies, moths and beetles, as well as other brackish and freshwater species.
- Plants: ancient trees, orchids, marshland flora and endemic plant species.
Samos is the only part of Greece which still supports an established population of the Mediterranean chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon). However, threats to this fragile population are increasing drastically due to anthropogenic factors.
In order to monitor the status and the habitat of the chameleon population, the Archipelagos terrestrial conservation team carries out surveys throughout the year. Furthermore, the data gathered on chameleon and other herpetological species populations is used towards Archipelagos’ conservation initiatives and efforts. Project activities include:
- Determining the chameleon population size and distribution using mark-recapture techniques and morphometrical analysis
- Carrying out observational surveys of various lizard, snake, tortoise and amphibian species
- Carrying out research on the extent of anthropogenic impacts and their influence on chameleon and other reptile populations
- Assessing seasonal variation of habitats and vegetation type preferences
- Developing population and habitat conservation measures
Participating in awareness-raising projects aiming to develop community engagement
Samos is the only Mediterranean island that still supports an established population of the golden jackal (Canis aureus). However, their presence in and around the Samos International Airport (SMI) has given way to an increased risk of jackal / aircraft collision.
Archipelagos Institute collaborates with Samos Airport and the University of the West of England (UK) to establish the population and distribution of the golden jackal at Samos Airport. Data on the population, home range, activity patterns and use of the airport habitat will inform an exclusion process that aims to decrease the threat of jackal / aircraft collision. This study aids in the development of animal exclusion processes in airports around the world, in an ecologically sustainable manner. Other research focuses on regular surveys on a number of sites in order to determine the extent of anthropogenic disturbance on the habits and ecology of the jackals. Research activities include:
- Capturing and analysing jackal audio and visual data through camera traps and acoustic devices
- Mapping jackal presence through tracking
- Carrying out nocturnal visual and acoustic surveys
- Analysing jackal diet through scat sampling and camera traps
- Collaborating with Samos Airport, Fraport Greece and the University of West England to help design aircraft-jackal collision mitigation measures
The small islands of the eastern Aegean are crucial feeding, breeding and wintering grounds for a large number of rare and protected bird species. More than 200 species have been reported on Samos up to this point, constituting up to 50% of all bird species found in Greece.
The Archipelagos bird research team collects avian data related to marine habitats and threatened wetland habitats in and around Samos island, as well as other eastern Aegean islands. This information is gathered with the purpose of improving site protection and ecological status of these areas, as well as for contributing to educational and public awareness projects. Project activities include:
- Collecting data on bird population through standardised point count methods and transect surveys on the islands as well as through boat-based surveys
- Analysing migratory and non-migratory bird populations throughout the year
- Studying nesting behaviour with the use of camera traps
- Caring for injured birds before releasing them back into the wild
- Providing the education and the media teams with information on local and regional birds and their habitats
Background: The islands of the eastern Aegean are home to a rich flora biodiversity, yet our knowledge of these species is still limited. The unique environment of Samos allows for a great assortment of over 1500 plants species that cannot be found on any other Mediterranean island, while Ikaria island supports a unique island ancient forests with Holm oak trees that can exceed 500 years old. Unfortunately, these extraordinary flora biodiversity is threatened by numerous factors such as overgrazing, wildfires, logging and diseases.
Description: The island flora team gathers and analyses data on eastern Aegean vegetation, including rare plant species. Archipelagos is also seeking to bring attention to the status of the ancient trees, with the goal of designating them as Monuments of Nature and allowing for the enactment of protection laws. By collecting and analysing data on plant diversity throughout the year as well as threats to Aegean island plant life, Archipelagos will be able to design and implement effective flora conservation strategies. Project activities include:
- Monitoring vegetation species on Samos, Ikaria and the north Dodecanese islands and islets by gathering habitat information using transect surveys
- Completing database indicating distinct habitats as well as common vegetation species at specific transects
- Collecting data on rare flora using transect surveys
- Completing database indicating abundance and locations of alpine and coastal rare flora species
- Locating and identifying ancient trees across Samos, Ikaria and other islands of the eastern Aegean.
- Determining the age of the specimen by measuring trunks and taking bark samples.
- Utilizing GIS maps to pinpoint locations of ancient trees
Bat research is conducted depending on qualifications (e.g. licenses) of the research team members, as there is no such expertise in the Archipelagos core team. In cooperation with experts, we have managed to identify eleven species of bats on Samos. With threats such as pesticides, light pollution and loss of habitat connectivity on the rise, there is an increasing need of continuing the research. Archipelagos’ work in this field includes:
- Surveying transects and analyzing sound files recorded.
- Visiting caves to identify species.
- Mist netting for species identifications.
- Assessing the impact of wind farms on local bat populations.
In the spring of 2005, Archipelagos created the Aegean Seed Bank with the aim of collecting and preserving different kinds of seeds from around the Aegean and promoting their use among local farmers. These seeds are also propagated under suitable conditions and used to present the benefits of traditional, organic agricultural practices. Archipelagos’ work in this field includes a combination of the following projects:
- Research into traditional agricultural farming techniques practiced by local communities on the Aegean islands.
- Experimental application of these practices as well as organic farming techniques.
- Collection, classification and analysis of local seed varieties preserved in the Aegean Seed Bank.
Latest Projects of the TeamVIEW ALL -
- When it comes to insects many people often inadvertently recoil away in disgust or terror, thinking only of their legs as creepy or their eyes as beady. But what not many people realise is that insects perform many important roles not only in regards to natural ecosystems but also to our society as a whole....
- In time for spring, Archipelagos’ terrestrial team has started chameleon surveys. The common chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) becomes active around April – May when it wakes up from its torpor and climbs up from underneath the ground. From there it will find a bush, tree, or other sturdy vegetation for its roost. On Samos, Chamaeleo chamaeleo...
One of the main efforts of Archipelagos has been the establishment of the first non-governmental, non-profit, independent laboratory in Greece. The Archipelagos laboratory facilitates studies which detect and analyze potential sources of pollution harmful for marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Such contamination can also damage the health of people who live on the islands and in the coastal regions of the eastern Mediterranean.
The Archipelagos laboratory offers local communities the analysis of drinking water, swimming water and soil quality free of charge. Analyses are being performed with the aim of detecting pesticide residues in plant tissues, final products (e.g. wine and oil), as well as in soil samples. Potential microbial contamination of vegetables is also being assessed. Other analyses include determining the pharmacological potential of marine organisms.
The Archipelagos laboratory is located in the Archipelagos research base on Samos and a smaller lab unit operates in the Archipelagos research base on Ikaria. In addition, an onboard lab is currently being developed on the Archipelagos research boat, Pinelopi. The on-board lab will facilitate water analyses in various parts of the Greek seas during Archipelagos’ research expeditions.
Plastic is everywhere around us: in plastic bags, bottles, toys, screw caps, packaging etc. In 2012 the global plastic production exceeded 280 million tons. Of these only 1% was recycled and it is estimated that only 50% of plastic waste ends up in landfills. The rest is dispersed in the environment, directly or indirectly, and as a result, plastics are one of the main polluters of the world’s waters today.
Plastic debris in the form of microplastics endangers the unique biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea, which hosts around 10% of world’s marine species. Given the natural and socioeconomic importance of the area, plastic pollution poses a serious threat to both marine and human life.
Archipelagos’ goal is to identify the main source of influx of microplastics into the Aegean Sea, as well as assessing the amount of microplastics present in the environment. Microplastic fiber content is collected, filtered and quantified through microscope analysis from samples of:
- Digestive systems of commercialized fish and invertebrates
- Digestive systems of stranded marine animals (e.g. dolphins, sea turtles)
- Surface seawater and water column samples collected through kayak and boat surveys
- Sediment samples of various habitats (e.g. wetlands, seabeds)>
The Archipelagos laboratory analyzes both marine and freshwater samples, defining the content of microbes, nutrients and other chemical compounds. The aim is to assess the safety of local potable water, groundwater and swimming water in order to protect human health as well as the environment. When contamination is detected, Archipelagos informs and collaborates with communities as well as relevant authorities (local, national and/or EU) for the development and application of appropriate measures.
All of the techniques used in the Archipelagos laboratory are certified and produce scientific, reliable results. Further analyses which require resources beyond these currently available at the Archipelagos laboratory are undertaken at partner university laboratories.
Archipelagos provides analyses of drinking water on various islands of the Aegean, focusing especially on the islands where the local authorities do not conduct regular monitoring. In most places drinking water can originate from different sources, hence the risk of pollution caused by nearby anthropogenic activities and natural rock erosion. On small islets and islands of the Aegean, where the water resources are limited and potable water is transported to people via water tankers, the quality of the water can differ with each shipment delivered.
The Archipelagos laboratory provides local island communities with water quality analyses in order to ensure that they have free, safe access to drinking water. In addition, Archipelagos tests the water in regions where the contamination of groundwater is possible. When sources of pollution are detected, Archipelagos collaborates with local, national and EU authorities in order to eliminate them.
The Archipelagos laboratory supplies data on swimming water quality at various beaches and informs local authorities, communities and visitors whether the waters are safe for them and their children to swim in or not. In many places around the Greek coastline, such samples are not regularly collected by the national authorities. Even when these tests are conducted, the results are not shared with the local communities. Our chemical water analyses are carried out using the photometric method (certification ISO 9001: 2000) and a digital arsenator (certification ISO 9001: 2000). The microbiological analyses are also carried out (IDEXX Colilert-18/ Quanti-Tray®: ISO 9308-3 (E. coli).
Growing healthy and productive crops requires good soil quality. If your soil is poor, you can selectively add the nutrient that is lacking from your soil for the specific crop you are growing in place of adding chemical fertilizers. On the basis of this principle, the Archipelagos laboratory team offers free analyses of soil quality for farmers who are also advised of the nutrient content of their soil and of natural methods of replenishing any nutrients that are missing. Our laboratory provides analyses of soil samples for the following parameters: Ammonia, calcium, chloride, free chlorine, cooper, iron, pH, magnesium, manganese, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, phosphorus.
Archipelagos conducts research on pesticide residues in order to assess environmental effects of the use of pesticides and herbicides in farming practices and to inform consumers and farmers about these effects. Using the results of our analyses, we create awareness campaigns that explain the health hazards of pesticides and encourage farmers to choose organic methods in place of chemical agents. Our laboratory team collects samples from olive groves, vineyards, vegetable gardens and greenhouses. Samples are collected and analyzed from the main crops, the produced goods (e.g. wine and oil), the surrounding vegetation growing on the ground and the soil. In recent years there has been a slow but steady shift towards organic farming by people who live on the islands. Nevertheless, a lot of work is still needed for progress to be made on a large scale.
Latest Projects of Microplastics TeamVIEW ALL -
- Introduction & Background With an increasing awareness of the growing level of plastic in the environment, human activity has a significant impact on the health of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. After one year of daily macroplastic surveys on remote coasts of Samos, a new project was inititated this spring aiming to assess the influx...
- Dolphins might be one of the most charismatic animals that plough through the oceans and seas. In general, they are social animals that enjoy living in pods. These marine mammals are considered one of the most intelligent species on the planet. Although they are mainly piscivores, their diet varies between species, feeding on fish, cephalopods...
Media & Public Relations
Archipelagos’ research and conservation projects can be successful only if they are known, understood and believed in by the local communities and the wider public. Our media and public relations team creates posters, leaflets, animations and documentaries as well as uses social media in order to ensure our success. Working closely with Archipelagos researchers and volunteers, the team shows the unique nature of the Aegean Sea and islands to the world.
Media and Communication
Communication and public engagement are crucial tools towards the success of Archipelagos’ conservation efforts. The media and public relations team creates material on biodiversity, environmental conservation and public health issues through various platforms, with the goal of raising awareness and effecting change. Focusing on various subjects, interns take part in a range of projects, collaborating with different scientific teams. The main fields of activity include:
- Creating press releases for newspapers, online media, TV and radio
- Increasing awareness of local and global environmental issues through social media
- Promoting and encouraging environmental conservation on an individual level through social media
- Creating informational material and updates regarding Archipelagos
- Expanding Archipelagos’ partnerships through networking
- Designing environmental education material, fundraising campaigns and events
Illustration of Flora and Fauna
Focusing on illustrations of marine and terrestrial biodiversity in the Eastern Aegean Islands, interns have the opportunity to partake in different conservation-based projects. By sketching from marine and terrestrial wildlife observations and pre-collected objects, they are merging photographic images with the knowledge of scientists. In addition, the interns create illustrations that are used in projects and campaigns that aim to raise public awareness of environmental issues. As a result, they contribute to the environmental conservation efforts of Archipelagos while developing dynamic personal portfolios. Activities include:
- Creating scientific illustrations of bird, reptilian, amphibian, and terrestrial mammal species
- Creating scientific illustrations of terrestrial plant, shrub and tree species
- Creating scientific illustrations of marine mammals, fish, invertebrates, as well as marine flora
- Creating scientific illustrations for informational material used in public awareness activities
Graphic and Animation Design
Informational graphics and animations are crucial towards the success of environmental conservation efforts carried out by Archipelagos. Innovative visual material designed by the graphic and animation team focuses on a wide range of wildlife and conservation issues and is used in environmental awareness campaigns and educational material through a variety of media. The main fields of activity include:
- Designing posters, infographics, leaflets and booklets depicting the various environmental issues concerning the marine and terrestrial biodiversity of the eastern Aegean
- Designing and creating animations and motion graphics depicting the local marine and terrestrial species as well as their respective threats
- Designing and participating in awareness and educational campaigns at local, Greek and European levels
Wildlife and Landscape Photography
The conservation efforts of Archipelagos Institute can only be successful when shared with the local communities and the general public. In this regard, photography is an invaluable tool in depicting the biodiversity of the Aegean Islands, as well as the activities carried out by the Institute. Focusing on various subjects, photography interns take part in a range of projects, collaborating with different scientific teams. Such projects include:
- Photographing bird, reptilian, amphibian, and terrestrial mammal species
- Photographing the various research and conservation activities carried out by Archipelagos teams, by participating in boat-surveys, land surveys and terrestrial biodiversity surveys
- Photographing marine mammals (e.g. dolphins, turtles, whales, seals)
- Photographing the varied landscape of the eastern Aegean Islands
- Assisting members of the research teams with basic photography and editing techniques
Nature Video/Film Production
The conservation efforts of Archipelagos Institute can only be successful when shared with the local communities and the general public. In this regard, documentary videos and films are invaluable tools in depicting the biodiversity of the Aegean, as well as local and global environmental issues. The films are created for various purposes, including awareness videos for children and the general public, as well as for media (TV and social media).
Video production interns take part in a range of projects, collaborating with different scientific teams. Such projects include:
- Creating and editing footage of the various research and conservation projects carried out by Archipelagos teams, by participating in boat-surveys, land surveys and terrestrial biodiversity surveys
- Creating and editing footage of marine wildlife (e.g. dolphins, turtles), using both standard and underwater cameras
- Creating and editing footage of terrestrial wildlife (e.g. birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals), combining the use of standard digital cameras with wildlife camera traps
- Showcasing the varied marine and terrestrial landscapes of the Aegean Islands>
- Assisting members of the research teams with basic filming and editing techniques
Geo-information is a key tool in providing answers to complex issues concerning the conservation of our environment, as spatial analysis provides a better understanding of habitats and species. In order to achieve effective environmental preservation in the Eastern Aegean Islands, habitats (e.g. seagrass, coralligenous reefs, wetlands), species (e.g. dolphins, whales, fish, seals, jackals, chameleons, flora) and threats need to be mapped and analysed in more detail. Through marine and terrestrial surveys, Archipelagos GIS interns collect various spatial data which is then assessed with the purpose of presenting distribution models (e.g. vulnerability, species, habitats). Current and future GIS projects include:
- Mapping of Posidonia seagrass meadows through satellite images
- Mapping of Posidonia seagrass meadows through kayak-based and boat-based surveys, using sonar or multibeam
- Mapping of Coralligenous reefs through boat surveys using multibeam
- Creating various species and habitat distribution models with presence/absence and environmental data (marine and terrestrial)
- ulnerability assessments of terrestrial and/or marine habitats and species
- Exploring and developing new technologies in the Copernicus program with Sentinel-2 and 3 satellites for terrestrial and marine observation (e.g. detecting marine litter gyres in the ocean, monitoring daily environmental conditions on species presence, detecting land change etc.)
Latest Projects of the TeamVIEW ALL -
- The last half year, the GIS-team was working out a method for seagrass mapping. Global seagrass meadows are under threat. Reduction of water clarity, climate change and dredging destroy meadows at an incredible speed of 1.5% a year. The mapping of the Greek seagrass meadows, especially the specie Posidonia Oceanica, remains behind and counteracts c...
- Posidonia oceanica meadows are one of the most valuable ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea. Climate change, fishing activities and anthropogenic influences threaten the survival of these meadows. Since the 20th century, 30% of the seagrass meadows have disappeared. Therefore, there is an increasingly pressing need to map the current extent of the ...
Renewable Energy Sources
Energy demand is constantly increasing in the whole world and Greece is not an exception. Archipelagos is developing projects which involve experimentation and application of small-scale renewable energy sources. Such solutions are low cost, sustainable and beneficial to the environment and the island communities. The aim is to examine efficient and inefficient examples of renewable energy sources and develop an optimal proposal which could be successfully applied on small scale across the Greek islands. The work involved in this area includes:
- Launching a campaign e.g. for the promotion of reusing cooking oil waste for producing biodiesel.
- Carrying out general research regarding the application of renewable energy sources for the island communities, using the new research base in Lipsi island as a study site where numerous renewable energy and desalination applications will be used to provide power and water.
- Establishing contacts and partnerships with researchers in Greece and the rest of Europe in order to identify environmental impacts of large scale renewable energy developments.
- Research into energy self-sufficiency using the islands of the eastern Aegean as an example and promoting sustainable, efficient application of renewable energy technologies.
- Participating in conservation activities and creating informational material with the aim of raising public awareness regarding the use of small-scale renewable energy sources.
Latest Projects of the TeamVIEW ALL -
- Installation Project of Lipsi base On Lipsi Island, where the Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary will be located, the renewable energy team is aiming to create a research base and veterinary clinic that may fully function using renewable energy sources. With the average monthly sunshine on Lipsi reaching approximately 400 hours, and winter sunshine hours...
- Applications of Small Scale Renewable Applications in the Aegean Sea islands Desalination stills Desalination stills are using the suns radiant energy to evaporate water. The evaporated water is then condensed again on a cool inside surface, where it drips down and is collected. Archipelagos’ prototype is a two slope basin solar still with a 20°...
The work of Archipelagos’ teams produces large datasets and media archives which need to be organized in easily searchable databases. Archipelagos also runs a number of websites, such as the wildlife library, which need to be continually maintained and updated. The placement focuses on database design and data mining, general system administration as well as creating new websites. Projects may involve the following:
- Content management system administration.
- Database design and implementation.
- Data mining and modeling.
- Website design.
- Designing and implementing an intranet website for the ease of information and file sharing.
Due to the dynamic nature of Archipelagos’ work, we need to have an understanding of both national and international laws and policies in order to assess the relevant enforcement. This knowledge is required to combat environmental crimes and to implement our management and conservation strategies of the environment. Some of the work involved may include research and legal analysis related to:
- EU fisheries legislation and Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fisheries.
- Combating the illegal trade of endangered plants and animals.
- Combating environmental crimes, pollution incidents and the destruction of natural habitats and wildlife.
- Shipping, ship traffic and maritime accidents.
- Uncontrolled use of live ammunition by the armed forces posing threats to public health and wildlife
- Creating, implementing and managing protected areas.
At Archipelagos we are always in need of assistance to help with office organization and other relevant tasks. Work will involve:
- Organizing the participants’ files and documents.
- Creating standardized protocols for storing all paperwork.
- Organizing various material generated during Archipelagos’ research and conservation activities.
- Helping with the general upkeep of Archipelagos’ bases and stations, as well as research work as required.
- Correspondence and other administrative tasks.
For almost two decades, Archipelagos has been offering environmental education lessons to schools and communities of the eastern Aegean islands. It is a non-profit contribution from the researchers working at Archipelagos, but also the biggest investment that can be done to ensure the development of critical thinking and environmental awareness of the younger generation. Project activities include:
- Preparing lesson plans, presentations, educational games and interactive activities, as well as other teaching aids for children of different ages and for teachers.
- Cooperating with different Archipelagos research teams to create and develop teaching material tailored to different projects
- Visiting local schools to present teaching material and implement lesson plans
Environmental education and awareness raising activities are tailored to address various target groups, in the numerous islands where Archipelagos is active. The aim of these activities is the engagement of the local communities in several aspects of marine and terrestrial conservation and sustainability, including wildlife conservation, awareness of microplastics in the environment, and protection of the natural environment.