I am a recent graduate of Ecological and Environmental Sciences from the University of Edinburgh and I joined the Marine Ecology team in Lipsi for a 3-month internship.

Preparing for a survey using the Remote Underwater Video method

My project was focused on surveying the abundance of invasive fish in different habitats and at various bays around the island, using a Remote Underwater Video (RUV) method.

My days would usually consist of spending the morning conducting a survey, where I would find a suitable location for the RUV in either seagrass or rock habitats. I would then spend the afternoon analysing the videos and identifying any invasive fish.

My sampling sites in Lipsi island

So far, I have found the abundance of invasive fish to be greater in rocky habitats compared to seagrass, and that of the 34 fish species seen, 3 were invasive. The invasive fish observed were two rabbitfish, Siganus luridus and Siganus rivulatus, and the Red Sea goatfish, Parupeneus forsskali. The data I collected is important for expanding our current knowledge on invasive fish in the Aegean, as this is currently quite limited. Invasive fish can have drastic ecological consequences through competition with native fish for food or habitat.

I also had the change to take part on a expedition with the research boat Naftilos

Therefore it is important to know their relative abundance so that appropriate mitigation measures can be developed. This project has been incredibly insightful and has allowed me to learn different methods of surveying fish and the ability to identify countless fish species, all while working alongside fellow environmental scientists.

Collecting plastic debris from the sea floor after my survey was over

When I wasn’t collecting data for my project, I was helping out on other people’s projects, doing macroplastic surveys or going on boat surveys to learn methods of monitoring marine mammals like dolphins and whales. I learned a great deal during my time with Archipelagos and it has been a wonderful start to a career in marine conservation.

Louisa Kluessendorf

Ecological and Environmental Sciences Student University of Edinburgh
On-site intern at Archipelagos’ Marine Ecology Team