Katja Wolff, a Swiss-Greek intern, is currently working on making a fish ID guide based on the fish species she has been recording during her visual-census surveys. To create this guide she is using photos she has been collecting as well as her own illustrations to point out the characteristics that differentiate each species. Her records and pictures of invasive species are also used in Archipelagos monthly reports of invasive species recorded in the Aegean Sea, to help comprehend the spread of invasive species around the NE Mediterranean.

‘’A year ago, I was still in school planning on what to do after my final exams. I came up with the decision to do a gap year, which would give me the opportunity to think about my future (studies, career) and have some unique experiences. My internship here in Archipelagos became part of my gap year plan because I wanted to learn more about scientific research and what the life of a scientist would be like, the required fieldwork, but also office work, how it’s been done and maybe find out if that could be a possible future life for me.

After one month being here, I realise that this place has given me a lot more than I was expecting. It has given me the chance to meet great people from all around the globe, to gain fieldwork skills while assisting in the Posidonia oceanica health assessment surveys and the project assessing the spread invasive species projects (thesis projects of other interns). This experience allowed me to realise the value and importance of organisation, effective communication and team work, as well as to develop my own ideas and creativity by starting my own project: making my own fish ID guide.

I am working on my project by joining visual-census snorkelling surveys, with my camera. I identify the fish I see during the surveys, take pictures of them, gather information about every species and make drawings of each as accurately as I can. I also research the species I identify and use any relevant information in my ID guide to help others differentiate species in the future. I am almost in the middle of my internship and I can’t wait to see what comes next!’’