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  • Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management
    λογότυπο σελίδας

    Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management

    Marine biodiversity has long suffered from lack of adequate information about the ocean's many species and ecosystems. Nevertheless, even as we are learning much more about the ocean's biodiversity and how it is affected by stressors such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and marine pollution, climate change imposes new challenges exacerbating existing threats to marine ecosystems.

    Modern strategies and practices promising marine ecosystem sustainability tend to integrate into biodiversity conservation, fisheries management and protection measures, as e.g. the establishment of Marine Protected Areas. The latter are characterised as "a conservation tool of revolutionary importance that is being incorporated into the fisheries mainstream". Especially, after the Reykjavik Declaration (2001) on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem the way of thinking is radically changed, so that fisheries management starts with the ecosystem rather than a target species.

    Academic & Research staff | Infrastructure | Research projects | Publications | Scientific cooperation

    Main focuses in this research working group are the structure and functioning of the biocommunities, promotion of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem-based management in a holistic approach to achieve sustainable exploitation of the marine biological resources.

    Benthic Biocommunities

    Research is focused on improving our understanding of the structure and functioning of the benthic communities in coastal and bathyal ecosystems and their relationship to the abiotic environmental properties. Basic component of the research is the investigation of the impact of various anthropogenic activities (e.g. fisheries, aquaculture, coastal infrastructure) on the marine biota and habitats as well as the development of techniques and methodologies for environmental ecological monitoring within the framework of the National and European legislation and policies.


    Biodiversity and Conservation

    The Mediterranean is a 'biodiversity hot spot'. Our research focuses on the investigation of the bio-geographical and ecological patterns regarding marine biota of the Greek Seas and the Mediterranean. Emphasis is given in the natural or/and anthropogenic processes affecting these patterns (e.g. influence of the Black Sea, Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans waters, shipping activities, alien and invasive species, interactions with aquaculture). MPAs have the potential to effectively conserve biodiversity by protecting species, habitats and ecosystem functions from the damaging effects of overfishing and other anthropogenic pressures (www.medpan.org). Our research focuses on conservation and management issues in Greek MPAs and particularly the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (a major reproduction and nesting area within the Mediterranean for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta)(www.nmp-zak.org).

    Life-cycle Biology and Stock Management

    Particular emphasis is placed on the life-cycle and population dynamics of commercial interest invertebrates and fish, aiming at an improved understanding of stock characteristics in order to develop and suggest effective policies and management plans for the rational exploitation of these resources in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, we are exploring the accuracy of management indices and reference points in fish stocks under varying levels of exploitation, with emphasis on the uncertainties arising from natural variability, environmental change and measurement errors by developing and applying biological or statistical models to various fisheries. This research aims at the understanding of the environmental causes of variability in survival and growth rates, and age at maturity of fish. The research improves our ability to assess conservation risks associated with fishing, climatic change, and other natural and/or anthropogenic disturbances, as well as fish biomass available for harvesting. In addition to classical statistical analysis, other quantitative methods, such as Bayesian Statistics, Multivariate Time Series Analysis, and Artificial Neural Networks are used. Finally, advanced stock assessment methods are utilised based on underwater acoustics, particularly on the estimation of abundance and habitat classification of biological resources.


    Fisheries Acoustics Technology

    Underwater acoustic technologies are among the most effective approaches for monitoring of marine areas and have been used to study marine life behaviour, seasonal changes in biomass distribution and interrelations to its habitat. The essential objective of our fisheries acoustics research is the improvement of the existing methods for biomass estimation (developing and implementing new algorithms in software) rather than just utilising existing echo sounding systems. These innovations improve the objectivity of species identification and the precision of the biomass assessment. Signal processing includes multi-frequency analysis and multi-beam sonar in vertical and horizontal echo-sounding.