Studies of the ecology, diversity and abundance of marine invertebrates and algae of the Aegean Sea carried out by the Archipelagos’ marine team are frequently coupled with laboratory analyses for the identification and isolation of bioactive substances in marine species. These bioactive substances could potentially have pharmaceutical and/or biotechnological uses. For example, reactive chemicals such as alkaloids, which give sponges and other marine invertebrates their bright colorations, can have a wide range of applications, from cancer treatment medications to eco-friendly antifouling paint for ships and boats which would replace the currently used toxic antifouling agents. Similar reactive chemicals may be found in predators of these species as well.
As Archipelagos works in various locations of the Greek seas throughout the year, our researchers are able to collect and analyze a large number of samples obtained either through visual census surveys or as a by-catch from fishing boats. In this way, we are able to process a large number of different samples which originate from different locations, habitats and depths.
The Archipelagos laboratory applies the thin-layer chromatography (TLC) technique to a wide range of species. A basic chemical profile is created for each species, so that the most interesting ones can be selected and sent to the laboratories of our partner universities for further chromatographic analyses.