The 6th yearly Oceanography Course organized by ARCHIPELAGOS Institute of Marine Conservation in collaboration with the Marine Geography Department of University of Cardiff, completed successfully on Thursday, 20th of September.
For one week, forty scientists and students from the University of Cardiff, Wales, collaborated with the scientific team of ARCHIPELAGOS Institute, which consists of 20 scientists, researchers and students from several European countries, the USA and China.
The purpose of the course was to collect oceanographic scientific data, which highlight the uniqueness of the marine environment of the area between Samos, Ikaria and Fourni Korseon islands, as well as the urgent need to protect them.
- The underwater mapping of protected ecosystems along 20-mile of coastline in Samos, close to the Turkish coast, proved the importance of the Mycale Strait. Dense seagrass meadows with deep roots centuries old were recorded, something that proves the enduring importance of the region as rich fishing grounds. Another important recording taken was of seagrass in waters deeper than 50 meters, which is a very rare phenomenon. It confirms our belief that the area of the Eastern Aegean Sea is an area of high priority and in need of management and protection.Besides, unfortunately, once again, we recorded areas that have suffered extensive destruction by illegal fishing trawler at depths of 14 meters. (It should be noted that in accordance with the law, fishing trawlers are not allowed to fish in depths less than 50 meters).These figures were recorded by our cartographic camera and part of them will soon be available at www.archipelago.gr.
- The research for local populations of marine mammals focused on the study of two major populations of dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and common dolphins, which live in the area south of Samos and Ikaria islands as far as Fourni Korseon island complex. These populations are studied by Archipelagos throughout the year; both of them have shown a slow but steady decline over the past few years.
- Management of coastal areas (with an emphasis on the areas of intense tourist activity adjacent to areas of particularly high biodiversity).
- Quality of marine waters in the region, as well as phytoplankton and zooplankton biodiversity.
For the collection of scientific data two boats and the modern research equipment of ARCHIPELAGOS were used. The data analysis was done in the laboratories of the Institute, which are located at our research bases in Pythagorio and Vathi, on Samos island.
The scientific team of ARCHIPELAGOS will continue collecting and analysing scientific data during the next few months in order to develop strategies for protection and management of the rare ecosystem of Aegean Sea.
Also, Archipelagos is currently working on implementing/ realising cooperation agreements that have been signed with leading universities in Europe and America, as well as with the University of the Aegean, with a view to achieving more relevant curricula and research targets by next year. These will be implemented in the research bases of Archipelagos in Ikaria, Samos, Fourni Korseon, Patmos and other islands of the Eastern Aegean.
This is part of Archipelagos efforts for more than a decade, to put the Aegean Sea in the world map of destinations for scientific research and education and to help the island communities, in a difficult period, to take advantage of their comparative advantages.
The collection of scientific data and knowledge about the unique natural beauty of the Aegean Sea, in conjunction with its promotion, constitutes a basic precondition for the implementation of effective conservation actions.