Ongoing research on Samothraki Island ecosystems focusing on ecological quality assessment, biodiversity conservation, education and integrated resource management initiatives.
Although IMBRIW personnel have been instrumental in delineating the Samothraki Natura 2000 protected-area in the past and have studied both marine and inland water environments of the island, a special focus centers on the islands’ stream environments. Island stream ecosystems, in contrast to continental lotic systems have been poorly studied in the Mediterranean. Located in the northern Aegean Sea, Samothraki has a steep relief dominated by a high mountain massif, deep valleys and significant erosion. Stream corridors are characterized by a high degree of naturalness, waterfalls and remarkable rock-pools often buffered with ancient riparian woodlands. These remarkable river valleys provide excellent out-door field study areas and IMBRIW is promoting the creation of a long-term study initiative on the island.
In the framework of national and international projects (AQEM and STAR), environmental data sampling, as well as sampling and analysis for chemical-physicochemical quality elements and benthic macroinvertebrates, were carried out between 2009 and 2012. In the summer 2013, IMBRIW started, in cooperation with the local Municipality, a detailed island-wide research programme focusing on the assessment of the ecological quality and biodiversity (including benthic macroinvertebrates, diatoms, fish, birds, riparian vegetation, and wetland site assessment).
In addition, IMBRIW participated in a proposal coordinated by AlpenAdria University, Vienna, to designate the island as a MAB UNESCO site. Finally, IMBRIW is creating a network and long-term study scheme called “Samothraki Nature Observatory” in order to enhance long-term research, education and scientific linking activities and conservation initiatives on the island.