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).