LTSER Platform Samothraki Nature Observatory - Greece
LTSER Platform Samothraki Nature Observatory
The island of Samothraki is located in the north-eastern Aegean Sea (Thraki, Greece). At only 178 km2 Samothraki is a high mountain massif that dominates the northern Aegean Sea and packs a lot into its small size. The island is bursting with picture perfect views of pristine cultural landscapes, an impressive geology and varied natural vegetation including ancient oriental plane forests, mountain wilderness, abundant fresh waters in the form springs and perennial streams with waterfalls which plunge into deep glassy rock pools, hot springs, small coastal wetlands, rocky beaches and a crystal clear seas. Samothraki is a perfect destination for naturalists, thrill-seeking adventurers and dedicated scientists; it seems to attract people who really care for its natural wonders. With a small local population of under 3,000 (2011 census) and a low population density (15 persons/km2), its main economic activities are agriculture, livestock breeding and small scale tourism. The island is relatively undisturbed by the modern world and remains one of the last virgin islands of Greece. It is thus self-evident that a large portion of this unique island with its rich biodiversity and deep history is part of the NATURA 2000 Network and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve candidate. Hydrologic and geochemical monitoring has been conducted while water and biological quality data of surface have been collected since 2000. SNO is managed by the Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters (IMBRIW, http://imbriw.hcmr.gr/en/) of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR, http://www.hcmr.gr/en/).
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
Samothraki Nature Observatory (SNO) is a formal cooperation agreement between HCMR and the Municipality of Samothraki (http://www.samothraki.gr/site/) which was signed in October 2013. The SNO is an ecosystem observatory and linking-network among scientists and among scientists and the local community. Main objectives of the SNO are: 1. The establishment of a research station for systematic research & long-term monitoring of the natural environment & biodiversity 2. The contribution to management & protection of natural resources & biodiversity 3. The contribution to promoting & utilizing the natural environment in favor of local community sustainability 4. The education & training initiatives Key research questions investigated at the SNO are the following: Water Chemistry (Streams and Springs), Freshwater Biology, Wetlands, Riparian Ecosystems, Landscape Assessment, Coastal Ecological Status, Integrated Coastal Management, Water Resources Management, Waste Management
Scientists of HCMR’s Institute of Marine Biological Resources & Inland Waters (IMBRIW, http://imbriw.hcmr.gr/en/) have been focusing on Samothraki’s water resources for the last seventeen years (Skoulikidis et al. 2014) in the framework of : • European Research Projects (AQEM & STAR, 1999-2002) • Master Thesis (Lampou, 2012) • National Ecological Quality Monitoring Program (2012-2015) • Detailed monitoring program with self-financing (2013-2015) • Contribution to a proposal to designate the island as a UNESCO ‘Man and Biosphere Reserve’ (Cooperation with the Institute for Social Ecology, Vienna, Alpen Adria University) • Establishment of “Samothraki Nature Observatory” (since 2013) • PhD Thesis (ongoing)
Affiliation and Network Specific Information