Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve Wish: Go IMBRIW!!!



New Year's Eve 2014

This New Year I feel I should wish the VERY BEST for our Inland Waters Department, within the Istitute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters (IMBRIW*) at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Resrearch HCMR (where I happen to work...).

We have done a hell of a lot of work in 2014....extensive fish surveying comes to mind: especially the monitoring work funded largely by generous EU funds for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Habitats Directive.

This is a unique time for inland waters ichthyology and fish conservation in Greece.  I sincerely believe we will keep up our great relationships and continue our over-worked, peculiar and awesome ways. Despite the austere and economically depressed times, I hope we continue to have European Union and Greek government support. Aquatic life and all associated resources for humans deserve what we do in Greece.

What we do is: science-conservation-lobbying-regional development-nature conservation combined! Important resources -data banks- are being developed and optimized: organizing databases, survey and assessment protocols and procedures, directly assisting water management and nature conservation in this country (and beyond).

This department employs just about 15 people (researchers, scientists, students and contractors) working on inland water fishes at this point in time. My humorous post-card (above) features just a few of the field electrofishing team members, from left-to-right: Vardakas, Kommatas, Koutsikos, Tachos, Zogaris. The three machines are high-powered German electrofishing generators received this Autumn. Thanks to the projects mentioned above we now have the largest suite of electrofishing technology of any research organization in Greece (big boat-based generators, various back-pack electrofishers).

We are growing and evolving, despite such hard times in Greece.
And we are tackling many, many ambitious initiatives.

Some of the important initiatives the Department's ichthyologists are currently working on, include the following wonderful research and conservation pathways:
  • Developing fish-based Indexes for WFD-compliant bioassessment in rivers (through collaborations with Austrian colleagues).
  • Threatened species conservation status assessment (with three other major research and academic institutions in Greece); assessing over 70 species and their status in and out of protected areas in Greece (Natura 2000 Habitats Directive application).
  • WFD and Habitats Directive fish research and applications in Cyprus (through work with institutions in Cyprus and Portugal).
  • Using fishes in ecological flow ecohydrological modelling and assessment; including habitat-use work through snorkeling surveys for the first time in Greece (with collaborators from Spain).
  • Studying fish communities in streams and rivers and applying a bottom-up approach to river & stream typology and water body delineation; including an application in a new 'study-basin', the Sperchios river.
  • Long-term research of fishes in temporary rivers (continuing work through a new EU funded international project that includes our long-term study basin, the Evrotas).
  • Exploring the taxonomy, phylogenetics, and biogeography of freshwaters fishes including an investigation into biotically-led freshwater ecosystem regionalization in the southern Balkans (with many international and national collaborations).
  • Recording and studying alien fish species and their impacts/effects on native species and ecosystems (both in Greece and Cyprus).
  • Investigating the restoration of rivers, wetlands and other inland waters, including species re-introduction and issues of restoring longitudinal connectivity (impacts of barriers in rivers and lagoons).
  • Participating in environmental interpretation, education, awareness and sensitization of the public on issues that affect inland water fishes. 
...And other initiatives that combine fishes with integrated river basin management and coastal zone management.....

And finally, what I think really counts is the legacy we leave in the wake of our many research projects:

-How we influence local people, communities, governments, management bodies, institutions.
-How we develop higher standards of research that is directly relevant to nature conservation.
-How we promote synergy among researchers and other academic teams, and develop thriving links locally and internationally.
-How we help define and apply 'best practice' in developing and using efficient applied tools, methods and research approaches for science, optimal water management and nature conservation.
-How we self-develop; how we learn (and teach) about fishes, ecosystems, management, and conservation.
-How we help create a better world.

May 2015 bring even better days!


Water reflects not only clouds and trees and cliffs, but all the infinite variations of mind and spirit we bring to it. – Sigurd Olson

*please see URL at: Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters



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