Last week Archipelagos was visited by an academic delegation from the University of Cukurova, headed by the Rector of the University. Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey, has over 43,000 students and is one of the largest of Turkey’s 180 universities. It is considered a leading institution in the fields of agronomy and agricultural education.

Archipelagos began working with the University 10 years ago and this weekend held a series of working meetings with rector Prof.Dr. Mustafa Kibar, Prof. Dr. Halil Çakan and Harun Arikan from the University. Between meetings, visits to ecosystems of particularly high biodiversity in Samos were conducted.

Together it was decided to expand our cooperation in the field of nature conservation and agricultural research. The expanded cooperation entails a major exchange of expertise and scientific data and coordination of research for the protection of indigenous plant-seeding materials. Our goal is an improved understanding of comparative characteristics of local varieties of cultivated plants in differing growing conditions of the Aegean islands and Turkish coast.

This improved understanding will help us to protect and preserve these local varieties from the ongoing risks they face. Archipelagos’ Aegean Seed Bank already holds more than 1,000 identified local varieties of agricultural plants and is constantly enriched.

It is worth noting that Turkey, like Greece, has been drained of plant-seeding material over previous years. This is a result of the practices of multinational seed companies which are effectively trying to control food sources.

Since our two neighbouring countries have ecosystems in similar climatic conditions which are threatened by similar problems, the systematic coordination of environmental organisations and scientists is essential for research and ultimately for the protection of our natural resources. Archipelagos is constantly seeking new areas of cooperation to design and implement environmental protection and education.

For this purpose, student group training activities (undergraduate and postgraduate) for next year are already underway with the cooperation of the University of Cukurova. These student groups will be accommodated for at Archipelagos’ research bases and will have the opportunity to work closely with the research teams of the Institute in the fields of applied agricultural and environmental research.


Thodoris Tsimpidis
Director of Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation