Terrestrial Research & Conservation Projects

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Terrestrial Research & Conservation Projects


The Aegean Islands host some of the most pristine and extensive insular terrestrial habitats in the Mediterranean. The island of Samos is a key hotspot, supporting the last remaining population of Mediterranean Chameleons in Greece, one of the few insular populations of Golden Jackals in Europe and a variety of freshwater species, such as the Balkan pond terrapin and the European Eel. The island also acts as a key stopover for over 200 migratory bird species, constituting up to 50% of all bird species found in Greece. The rich biodiversity of the island hosts over 1500 plant species that are under constant threat from wildfires, logging and herbicides. Archipelagos aims to protect terrestrial species on the Aegean Islands by collecting and analysing data and pushing forward the protection of these fragile ecosystems.

Program Description

In order to monitor the status and the habitat of the key species, the Archipelagos' Terrestrial Conservation Team carries out surveys throughout the year with a focus on Samos island, but also extending to Ikaria and the small islands of the northern Dodecanese. The data gathered on the given species is used towards assessing the human impacts on the biodiversity and, ultimately, towards Archipelagos’ conservation initiatives and efforts.

This internship will consist of both field work and office work, which will provide interns with valuable skill sets in data collection, data analysis, and report writing for a professional career in wildlife and terrestrial conservation and environmental management.

Research is conducted during land-based surveys, where interns assist in the data collection for ongoing research projects, including:

  • Determining the Mediterranean Chameleon population size and distribution using mark-recapture techniques and morphometrical analysis
  • Determining the Golden Jackal population size and distribution by using: Passive and Active Acoustics Monitoring, with the aim to understand the population dynamics, distribution and acoustic characteristics of golden jackals of Samos (nocturnal and daytime surveys are included, Raven Pro software is used for data analysis); Camera Trap Monitoring in areas of high jackals’ activity; Jackals’ diet analysis through scat sampling and camera traps (laboratory work is included for the analysis of the samples); Jackals’ parasitology with the aim to detect the presence/absence of some parasites found in jackals’ scats (fecal samples collection and laboratory work is included in this research).
  • Carrying out observational surveys of various lizard, snake, tortoise and amphibian species
  • Carrying out research regarding the extent of anthropogenic impacts and their influence on reptile populations and develop habitat conservation measures
  • Assessing the Greater Flamingo migratory subpopulation that inhabits a small wetland in Samos Island and studying their diurnal behaviour by using BORIS software.
  • Participating in awareness-raising projects aiming to develop community engagement
  • Collecting data on bird population through standardised point count methods and transect surveys on the islands as well as through boat-based surveys

These projects provide field-work and hands-on research opportunities for graduate and post-graduate students who have achieved a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and who are looking to gain experience outside the classroom. Participants have the opportunity to collect data for producing a thesis and scientific publications (you can view Archipelagos researchers' scientific publications that interns contributed to, here). The skills and expertise acquired through this internship are useful towards a professional career in environmental and/or zoological research and conservation fields.

Interns have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects, for university credit or for a thesis/dissertation.

Applicant profile

This internship program is available to applicants who have completed at least one year of college or university studies in the field of marine, ecological, environmental sciences and/or veterinary medicine.

Applicants must be able to work both independently and as part of a dynamic, multi-cultural, multidisciplinary team. During multi-day boat surveys, the research team lives on the boat, so applicants must be able to live in tight quarters for several days at a time.

Additional skills required:

  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills
  • Capacity for accurate and consistent data collection and analysis
  • Ability to write scientific reports and papers
  • Fluency in English
  • Sincere desire to work towards Archipelagos’ conservation efforts
  • Motivation to live in a small island community in simple facilities

Additional Information

Normal placement duration ranges between 3 - 12 months, although shorter or longer placements can be tailored to the needs of groups and individuals.

Archipelagos’ research bases and stations in the Eastern Aegean Sea, on the islands of Samos and Lipsi as well as onboard the research vessels.

As a non-profit research institute, these internships are not paid. This educational experience also requires a monthly fee of 650 euro to cover living expenses, the cost of training, use of research equipment and research vessels, and other expenses like Wi-Fi and insurance. For shorter duration placement than 3 months the participation fees are 780 euro per month. Please note that travel costs to and from the research center are not included in the fees and are covered by the participant. This fee also contributes to the overall operations of the institute and allows Archipelagos to continue conducting important research.

Students and recent graduates are advised to explore possible funding through their universities, by getting in touch with the Finance / International Relations / Placement/ Erasmus+ Offices at their Universities or other relevant grant providing organizations in their region.

To apply for an internship, send a CV, cover letter, and at least one reference letter or reference contact details using the button at the top of the page.