Overview

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The Aegean Sea is one of the most important marine biodiversity hotspots in the Mediterranean, with some of the most extensive and pristine seagrass meadows and coralligenous assemblages hosting populations of keystone species. Geo-information is a key tool to improve the implementation of environmental legislation and to address complex environmental conservation issues. In order to mitigate the increasing anthropogenic threats, critical habitats, including seagrass meadows, coralligenous assemblages and insular wetlands, as well as key species distribution, must first be mapped, and their threats should be quantified.

Research onboard Archipelagos’ 22m long research vessel “Aegean Explorer” aims to address multiple knowledge gaps and promote the protection of the Aegean Sea habitats and species through various targeted conservation actions. The Aegean Explorer is a 22m long motorboat equipped with an array of important scientific tools, including a multibeam sonar, structure scanner, biomass scanner, ROV, camera system that can reach up to 1500m depth, an onboard lab and many more. With the capacity to host up to 22 crew members, it allows the Archipelagos team to extend the research and conservation work in various parts of the Greek Seas, during targeted research expeditions of short or longer duration.

Following data collection at sea, we normally dock in the port of a nearby island in order to have workgroup meetings onboard, with members of the local communities and authorities on the local conservation priorities. We also offer onboard environmental education activities to the students and teachers from the islands’ schools,by also sharing the results of the recently completed surveys with them.

Program Description

Through research expeditions with the “Aegean Explorer”, as well with the analysis of satellite data, Archipelagos GIS interns collect and analyse various spatial data with the purpose of generating outputs such as species and habitat mapping and vulnerability modelling.

This internship will consist of both fieldwork at sea and office work, which will provide interns with a valuable skill set in data collection using an array of scientific tools, data analysis, and report writing for a professional career in marine conservation and environmental management.

Research is conducted during boat-based surveys and kayak-based surveys, while interns are also welcome to join and assist in snorkelling-based surveys.

 

During these surveys, interns assist in the data collection for ongoing research projects, including:

  • The mapping of seagrass meadows through boat-based surveys, using an array of scientific equipment including single- and multi-beam sonar aboard the ‘Aegean Explorer’
  • The mapping of seagrass meadows through cost-efficient kayak-based methods using single beam sonar
  • Producing GIS maps of seagrass meadow distribution, combining data collected using kayak- and boat-based methods. The maps produced are used to ensure these habitats are accurately represented, so that planning decisions are properly informed.
  • The mapping of coralligenous assemblages through boat-based surveys using the multibeam sonar and the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) aboard our research vessel ‘Aegean Explorer’
  • Creating various species and habitat distribution models with presence/absence and environmental variables (marine and terrestrial)
  • Vulnerability assessments of terrestrial as well as marine habitats and species
  • Exploring and developing new technologies in the Copernicus program with Sentinel-2 and 3 satellites for terrestrial and marine observation (e.g. detecting marine litter gyres in the ocean, monitoring daily environmental conditions on species presence, detecting land change etc.)

These projects provide technical and applied GIS research opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students and for other early career researchers looking to gain experience. Participants have the opportunity to collect data for producing a thesis and scientific publications or Interns have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects (you can view Archipelagos researchers’ scientific publications that interns contributed to, here). This internship provides skills and expertise in applied marine research that are valuable for a professional career in spatial data analysis, remote-sensing and marine ecosystem management.

Applicant profile

This internship program is available to applicants who have completed at least one year of college or university studies in marine, environmental, geographical and/or related sciences. Experience in QGIS or other geo-analytic software (ESRI ArcGIS, SAGA, GRASS) and knowledge of remote sensing software packages (e.g. SNAP, ErDAS, ENVI, BEAM, eCognition) is also required.

Applicants must be able to work both independently and as part of a dynamic, multicultural, multidisciplinary team.

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

Internship duration normally ranges between 3 – 12 months, although shorter or longer internship periods may be arranged to cover the needs of groups or individuals.

Archipelagos’ research bases and stations are in the Eastern Aegean Sea, on the islands of Samos and Lipsi as well as onboard the research vessels. Interns often move between research bases and boats depending on where the surveys will take place.

As a non-profit research institute, the internships we offer are unpaid. This educational/research experience requires a monthly fee of 650 euro to cover living expenses, the cost of training, use of research equipment and travelling with the research vessels, use of the office facilities, as well as insurance.
For internships of less than 3 months in duration the participation fees are raised to 780 euro per month.

Please note that travel costs to and from the research base are not included in the fees and are covered by the participant.

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

To apply, please send your motivation letter, your CV, a copy of your resume, cover letter and one reference letter (if available) to [email protected]