Archipelagos Work Journal

Updates on our ongoing conservation projects

The silent invasion

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 biodiversity and
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
Seagrass, in particular Posidonia oceanica, plays an important role in the ecosystem and provides several services. It ensures the maintenance of physical, chemical and biological conditions. It provides a habitat for many different species, is a nursery, hunting and predator area. Furthermore, it mediates flow, is a coastal erosion protection by stabilizing the sea beds and it decreases the water power
The 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 consequences for animals.
  “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 speed. It
Although people have long been fascinated by the behaviour of animals, the formal discipline of animal behaviour–ethology–is actually relatively new, dating to the work of Konrad Lorenz in Austria in the 1930s. The application of ethological principles and methods to the study of animal welfare is even newer. Behavioural data can offer insight into the
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.
What is an artificial reef and why are we developing and using one? The artificial reef project has been ongoing since March 2017. It is a long-term project with the aim to successfully create reefs that increase biodiversity in the surrounding waters. The project is still in its experimental stage, but the long-term aim is
Have you ever stood on the shoreline, with waves lapping back and forth and allowed your mind to dive down into the mysterious world that lies beneath the waves? What creatures prowl the depth in search of their next meal? Dolphins, Sharks, Giant squid? What if I tell you that this mystery can be solved
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 chamaeleon appears in
The Terrestrial team of Archipelagos is continuing its monitoring of Aliki Psili Ammos (Natura 2000), which includes several other wetlands and ponds including Mesokampos marsh and Glyfada ponds. A recent visit to the island of Lipsi also allowed for surveying of Vroulia Bay (Birds Directive Site) for two weeks. These areas are key for migratory
The Aegean Sea supports some of the most important remaining marine mammal populations in the Mediterranean. Archipelagos´ marine mammal research team monitors year round through regular boat surveys the populations of Common Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Short-beaked Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Stripped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) and Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Photo
The Archipelagos Terrestrial Conservation Team has been conducting surveys on both Samos and Lipsi to identify and monitor what plant life is in specific habitats across the islands. The main aim of this research is to understand the biodiversity of the areas and to identify any endangered species, filling in this way important knowledge gaps
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
Common dolphin (D. delphis) bioacoustics project – a study about vocalization and sociality of the common dolphin population in the Aegean Sea, February-March 2018. Common dolphins often live in pods consisting of around 12-20 individuals in the Mediterranean Sea (Murphy et al., 2008). The population of this particular species has been declining at an alarming
  Mankind is having a major impact on every ecosystem on earth. From the very tops of the tallest peaks to the deepest abysses in our oceans, the world is changing, and how we measure these impacts, is also changing. Bioindicator species are helping us understand how we have affected our world and can even
Microplastics content found in edible fish and invertebrate species of the Eastern Aegean Sea, February 2018 The increasing abundance of marine plastic debris is a worldwide issue and it represents a critical threat in areas such as the Mediterranean Sea. Many studies so far already documented the negative effects of this global issue on marine
One of the projects of Archipelagos marine conservation team is the study and assessment of the litter that is accumulating on coastal zones, waterways and wildlife areas here on Samos and Lipsi islands. This litter has the potential to cause many fatalities both on land in the marine environment. Macroplastics are plastic pieces larger than
Echinoderms play an important role in marine, benthic ecosystems. They can be both carnivorous or, most importantly, grazers. The grazing of sea urchins specifically reduces the rate of colonization on bare rocks by settling organisms. This keeps algae in check, thereby enhancing the biodiversity of coral reefs. Despite that, echinoderms sometimes have large population swings
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 conservation
The presence of vast amounts of plastics in our oceans is cause for great concern for our marine wildlife due to their toxicity, persistence and ubiquity. With the production of plastics increasing, these pollutants are entering our oceans and breaking down into microplastics (MPs) at an ever-increasing rate. Microplastics are buoyant fragments of <5mm which
This spring Archipelagos Institute started working with Samos International Airport to establish the population and distribution of the golden jackal (Canis aureus L.) in the airport area. We have been collecting data on the population, home range, activity patterns and use of the airport habitat. This information is used for the exclusion process that aims
Seagrass​ ​plays​ ​a​ ​vital​ ​role​ ​in​ ​the​ ​health​ ​of​ ​coastal​ ​ecosystems​ ​all​ ​across​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​useful​ ​in sediment​ ​stabilization​ ​and​ ​carbon​ ​storage,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​supports​ ​a​ ​very​ ​diverse​ ​set​ ​of​ ​organisms.​ ​The seagrass​ ​beds​ ​often​ ​house​ ​commercial​ ​invertebrate​ ​and​ ​fish​ ​species,​ ​and​ ​are​ ​therefore​ ​not​ ​only ecologically​ ​important​ ​but​ ​economically,​ ​as​ ​well. Seagrasses​
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 seagrass cover. The
The Terrestrial Team of Archipelagos is monitoring the avifauna in Aliki Psili Ammos Natura 2000 wetland. This area is an important habitat for many bird species, including migratory birds heading towards Asia. Many species use the shallow coastal salt lagoon as a breeding site, which is why the habitat is worth protecting. In recent years
Archipelagos Marine Mammal Team has been monitoring the population of  Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the north Aegean Sea for over 17 years. Physeter macrocephalus is the biggest species of Odontoceti – toothed whales. A female can reach approximately 12 m and the male 18 m in length. The large head occupies one-third of the
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