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Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to researching and defending the biodiversity of the Greek seas and islands, as well as the entire eastern Mediterranean. Since its creation in 1998, Archipelagos has been focusing on the combination of multidisciplinary scientific research and efficient conservation work in which local communities play an active part. This strategic cooperation enables and strengthens Archipelagos’ actions at local, national and European level, allowing it to protect aquatic and terrestrial life against ever-increasing human destructive activities.
Mediterranean Chameleon Research and Conservation Projects
Samos is the only part of Greece which still supports an established population of the Mediterranean chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon). However, threats to this fragile population are increasing drastically due to anthropogenic factors.
In order to monitor the status and the habitat of the chameleon population, the Archipelagos terrestrial conservation team carries out surveys throughout the year. Furthermore, the data gathered on chameleon and other herpetological species populations is used towards Archipelagos’ conservation initiatives and efforts. Project activities include:
- Determining the chameleon population size and distribution using mark-recapture techniques and morphometrical analysis
- Carrying out observational surveys of various lizard, snake, tortoise and amphibian species
- Carrying out research on the extent of anthropogenic impacts and their influence on chameleon and other reptile populations
- Assessing seasonal variation of habitats and vegetation type preferences
- Developing population and habitat conservation measures
- Participating in awareness-raising projects aiming to develop community engagement
Golden Jackal Research and Conservation Projects
Samos is the only Mediterranean island that still supports an established population of the golden jackal (Canis aureus).However, their presence in and around the Samos International Airport (SMI) has given way to an increased risk of jackal / aircraft collision.
Archipelagos Institute collaborates with Samos Airport and the University of the West of England (UK) to establish the population and distribution of the golden jackal at Samos Airport.Data on the population, home range, activity patterns and use of the airport habitat will inform an exclusion process that aims to decrease the threat of jackal / aircraft collision. This study aids in the development of animal exclusion processes in airports around the world, in an ecologically sustainable manner.Other research focuses on regular surveys on a number of sites in order to determine the extent of anthropogenic disturbance on the habits and ecology of the jackals. Research activities include:
- Capturing and analysing jackal audio and visual data through camera traps and acoustic devices
- Mapping jackal presence through tracking
- Carrying out nocturnal visual and acoustic surveys
- Analysing jackal diet through scat sampling and camera traps
- Collaborating with Samos Airport, Fraport Greece and the University of West England to help design aircraft-jackal collision mitigation measures
Bird Research and Conservation Projects
The small islands of the eastern Aegean are crucial feeding, breeding and wintering grounds for a large number of rare and protected bird species. More than 200 species have been reported on Samos up to this point, constituting up to 50% of all bird species found in Greece.
The Archipelagos bird research team collects avian data related to marine habitats and threatened wetland habitats in and around Samos island, as well as other eastern Aegean islands. This information is gathered with the purpose of improving site protection and ecological status of these areas, as well as for contributing to educational and public awareness projects. Project activities include:
- Collecting data on bird population through standardised point count methods and transect surveys on the islands as well as through boat-based surveys
- Analysing migratory and non-migratory bird populations throughout the year
- Studying nesting behaviour with the use of camera traps
- Caring for injured birds before releasing them back into the wild
- Providing the education and the media teams with information on local and regional birds and their habitats
Island Flora Research and Conservation Projects
The islands of the eastern Aegean are home to a rich flora biodiversity, yet our knowledge of these species is still limited. The unique environment of Samos allows for a great assortment of over 1500 plants.Unfortunately, this extraordinary flora biodiversity is threatened by numerous factors such as overgrazing, wildfires, logging and diseases.
The island flora team gathers and analyses data on eastern Aegean vegetation, including rare plant species.By collecting and analysing data on plant diversity throughout the year as well as threats to Aegean island plant life, Archipelagos will be able to design and implement effective flora conservation strategies. Project activities include:
- Monitoring vegetation species on Samos and Lipsiby gathering habitat information using transect surveys
- Completing database indicating distinct habitats as well as common vegetation species at specific transects
- Collecting data on rare flora using transect surveys
- Completing database indicating abundance and locations of alpine and coastal rare flora species
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 of the classroom. The skills and expertise acquired through this internship are useful towards a professional career in environmental and/or zoological research and conservation fields.
- At least one year of college or university studies in the fields of environmental, ecological, and/or related sciences
- Knowledge of common European plant species
- Experience in plant identification preferred
- Ability to write scientific reports
- Capacity for accurate and consistent data collection and analysis
- Comfortable working under low supervision as well as leading a project independently
- Ability to work both individually and as part of a dynamic, multi-cultural, multidisciplinary team
- Excellent organizational and time-management skills
- Fluency in English
- Sincere desire to work towards Archipelagos’ conservation efforts
- Motivation to live in a small island community
A minimum duration of 3 months is highly recommended for all participants, although shorter placements can be tailored to the needs of groups and individuals. Placements can last as long as 12 months.
Archipelagos’ research bases and stations in the eastern Aegean Sea, on the islands of Samos and Lipsi.
Monthly fees of 650 euro include:
Living expenses (shared accommodation, all meals, wi-fi)
Use of equipment & research boats
Transport for working purposes
Greek language lessons
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.
*Travelling costs are NOT included and are covered by the participant.
Please submit CV and covering letter to [email protected]