Activities

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Management of Fisheries Resources

In this research direction, the Institute’s activities include research in biology, ecology and spatiotemporal distribution of species, the assessment of the fish stocks status and the collection and organization of fisheries data.

Particular emphasis is given to addressing the problems of overfishing, due partly to the excessive and uneconomic development of the fishing fleet that has led to a decline in fish stocks, thereby reducing efficiency and increasing costs of fishing.

Many research activities have ecosystem orientation and include research on trophic networks,  the habitats of species, the impacts of climate change on the distribution and abundance of marine resources and the interactions between fishing and the marine ecosystem.

The Institute’s activities also cover the management of the coastal zone and focus on the study of the interactions between human activities that compete for space and resources (fisheries, tourism, services, agriculture, industry, aquaculture, urban development and transport) and their impacts on the coastal environment and the coastal ecosystems.

The activities of this research axis serve important aspects of fisheries policy and legislation and they are harmonized with the requirements of the Common European Fisheries Policy. The post-merger business plan of the Institute includes the integration of fisheries research in inland waters under this research axis.

Integrated River Basin Management

The activities of this research direction constitute a large interdisciplinary unit in which the long-term experience and expertise of several scientific teams of the Institute are synthesized and function.

The objective is the development of methodologies and strategies for the sustainable use of the services of aquatic ecosystems and the conservation of environmental resources in balance with economic development. Important research activities of this axis is the evaluation and monitoring of  water bodies’ status with methodologies based on analyses of pollution and on the assessment of the ecosystem integrity.

The Institute has a significant scientific background on the hydrological and chemical monitoring of aquatic ecosystems, as well as on methodologies for ecological classification, using combined biological, hydromorphological, chemical and physicochemical indicators. The Institute has developed significant environmental databases and has standardized the sampling techniques and methodologies used for recording and evaluating anthropogenic pressures.

Major categories of actions are the development and application of hydrological/ hydrochemical models (which simulate physicochemical processes and facilitate the development of decision support tools) and the conservation of aquatic habitats and biodiversity.

The objectives and actions of this research direction primarily support the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Greece. They also  serve both the application requirements of the Natural Habitats Conservation Directive and contribute to Greece meeting its obligations  under a series of conventions on biodiversity (Ramsar, Bern, Bonn, Barcelona, Rio).

Biodiversity Conservation

This research direction includes the assessment of species’ status (conservation status), the definition of ‘key habitats’ in need of special protection, the analysis of pressures, the formulation of management actions and the development of management tools and solutions that mitigate the negative impacts of human activities on species and their habitats.

The research work related to biodiversity conservation is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the EU Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (92/43/EEC), as well as with the principles laid down by the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 1979) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro, 1992). Consequently, the activities of this research group focus on acquiring and managing biological and ecological data related to species, habitats, site and protected-area conservation, and on the development of environmental management applications for maintaining essential ecological processes and life support systems. 

The fields of research in this axis are multiple and, inter alia, include:

  • taxonomic validations for vulnerable or endangered taxa
  • distribution studies, biogeographic research and applied assessments of the conservation status of species and species populations
  • identification of priority habitats (and areas) for conservation or habitats that support endangered species
  • natural history studies and biological/ecological studies providing essential information for invetory, monitoring, restoration and sustainable environmental management
  • artificial fish breeding, with the purpose of stimulating and restoring populations at risk of extinction
  • development of environmental management plans at both speceis and site level

In this research field, the institute supports several scientists with in-depth experience on Mediterranean freshwater fishes; macro-invertebrate communities; birds and reptiles; river, pond and wetland habitat ecology;  riparian, lake and wetland vegetation; urban water bodies, protected-area management; and habitat restoration. Marine fishes and threatened marine invertebrates also occupy the institute’s marine scientists as elements of the biodiversity that requires assessment,  conservation and monitoring.