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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.
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.