Archipelagos Work Journal

Updates on our ongoing conservation projects

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
Archipelago’s Terrestrial Conservation Team is carrying out extensive field research on Ikaria Island on the highly biodiversity flora and fauna of the island. Monitoring aims to link past data of the research carried out on the island in previous years, and currently a series of monitoring surveys are ongoing since beginning of the summer. The
The sea gives out the illusion of a serene place to either relax or work in. The tranquility of the sea depth is what most of us expect to hear and see. However, the open seas are realistically noisy and contaminated. Archipelagos Marine Mammal team is working to prove how noisy the Aegean Sea and
Our generation is accustomed to having easy access to high quality images of everything, at nearly no expense and in no time at all. Despite of this, scientific illustrations are still needed because of only a very small detail can help differentiate one species from another. Hence scientific illustrations are useful as they can be
The ideal weather conditions allowed the Archipelagos Marine Mammal Team to carry out an extensive survey in the waters north of Samos and Ikaria Islands during the past week. The Team spent several days in the sea with the aim to have an updated census of the cetacean species present in the study area. At the
The Mediterranean Sea has one of the highest concentrations of marine plastic debris. As it is a semi-closed sea, dispersion of plastics is limited due to water circulation and tidal flow. Through mechanical degradation of wave action and abrasion by sand, this plastic debris is broken down in to microplastics (<5mm). Additional processes that enhance
The Terrestrial Team from the Archipelagos Institute has focused on a project about the distribution and habitat preferences of Mediterranean chameleons on Samos Island. The aim is to collect as much data as possible about the habitat use of the Mediterranean chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon). In order to conserve the species, it is necessary to understand their
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is the rarest species of marine mammal in Europe with only around 500 individuals surviving in the world. They are currently listed as “endangered” on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. With such a small remaining population, the actions for their monitoring and conservation are
The Joint Educational Oceanographic Research Course of the University of Essex UK with the Archipelagos Institute, took place in the marine area between Samos and Ikaria islands. For one week, with parallel recordings by Archipelagos’ 3 research vessels, with the aid of contemporary research equipment, the final year students of Marine Sciences from Essex university,
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