Boglárka (Bogi), a Natural Sciences student from Eötvös Lóránd Science University in Hungary, joined the terrestrial team at Archipelagos in June 2019, when she decided to expand her view of wildlife conservation on the Mediterranean island of Samos. As she says It turned out to be her best decision so far – spending an incredible 3 months at Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation and learning about the work of an environmental conservationist. 

Bogi originally planned to study the wild flora of the very diverse Samos, however, upon her arrival, she discovered a wide range of projects that also deeply interested her. Going on every survey in the first few weeks of her internship made her realize that combining botany with every other terrestrial research project is quite possible and also very useful. Joining the chameleon research team, Bogi learned about the precious herpetofauna; attending the jackal scat surveys, she could master her seed recognition skills as well as practice laboratory work; and helping on terrapin surveys, she could study not only this reptile but also the critically endangered European eel. 

“The diversity of the fields of study [at Archipelagos] is what really attracts people here from all over the world,” says Bogi, “That is why I am here.” She remarks, “It is quite necessary to experience the different kinds of work: field, laboratory, office – before choosing a permanent role – as a student. Archipelagos made this possible for me.” 

The chameleon project, which has been running since 2009, aims to estimate the population density of the Mediterranean chameleon in selected target sites of Samos island, to define the Chameleo chameleon habitat types, and to measure the effects of human impact on this vulnerable animal. Leading the surveys, Bogi has also been working with Distance and Vortex software systems to analyze data during her internship. 

Now, as Bogi reaches the halfway-point of her stay, she feels confident in saying, “being an intern at Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation will teach you not only field-, laboratory- and office work, but also how to deal with successes and failures. It has been an amazing adventure with a lot of joy and hard work. At this point, we are one big, loving family of interns.”