Samothraki Island is a small albeit high and steep “mountain in the sea”, still emerging, demonstrating the highest peak in central and north Aegean Sea. The island hosts pristine cultural landscapes and is marked by impressive geomorphologic features, mountain wilderness, varied natural vegetation including ancient oak and oriental plane forests, abundant fresh waters in the form of springs and perennial streams with waterfalls which plunge into deep rock pools, hot springs, small coastal wetlands, rocky beaches and crystal-clear seas. With a small local population and density, its main economic activities are agriculture, livestock breeding and small-scale tourism. As one of the last nearly undisturbed islands in the Mediterranean with rich biodiversity and deep history, the vast land portion and an extended marine area are protected under the NATURA 2000 network umbrella and is an UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve candidate.
As the island has been little studied, environmental research started with stream ecological quality assessments in 2000, and is ongoing, along with hydrogeochemical research, landscape assessment, research on erosion and water management. In this frame, a meteorological station and automatic stream water level recorders are operating since 2018 (for more information see http://samothraki-observatory.hcmr.gr/). Current hydro-meteorological research attempts to interpret the origin of the rich water resources of the island, expressed in the existence of several perennial streams. Transdisciplinary socioecological research since 2007, created an agenda that aims at supporting the inhabitants of Samothraki and their administration in achieving practical sustainable development goals. This includes conceptual depictions of island sustainability, centered around the concept of social metabolism, but also applied projects (for more information see http://sustainable-samothraki.net/). Since 2019, the SNO is member of the Greek Long-term Ecosystem Research Network (LTER-Greece). The mission of LTER-Greece is to deliver to the scientific community, policy makers, and society in general, sound scientific information and predictive understanding of ecological and socio-economic processes and to inform solutions to current and future environmental problems at local, national, European and global scales (for more information see https://www.lter-greece.gr/el/home-gr/).