28 August 2015
Biology trip to Samos
On 25 June, 31 students landed in Samos Greece after an exciting plane journey and a very early start.
We were introduced to the Archipelagos and Opwall team at the Samos base who explained the importance of their work in conservation around the Aegean Sea. The first week’s focus was scuba diving where many of us were given the opportunity to complete our PADI Qualifications and those who were already qualified were able to jump straight into documenting fish populations and diversity. Every evening we were given lectures on conservation and surveying techniques. We also spent many early mornings or late nights carrying out other surveys inland such as bird surveying in a wetland area and herpetofauna surveys (reptile and amphibian surveys.) As a group we all learned how to Free Dive which allowed us to participate in Posidonia surveys, which is a type of sea grass vital to the sea’s ecosystem.
We then headed down to the marina where we sailed to Lipsi Island. Although the seas were quite rough and a few of us fought to find our sea legs on the journey, we all participated in marine mammal surveys, and two boats spotted dolphins who swam around and under their boats. On Lipsi, bird, sea grass and fish surveys continued and we were also given the opportunity to take part in marine mammal surveys, insect surveys, kayaking and talking with local fisherman. We used sonar technology on kayaks as another means of documenting sea grass, which helped to give the research team information to tackle competition with big trawlers. Prior to the trip we raised a sum of money to aid these local fishermen, so we also learned that our money would go towards buying these fishermen new technology like depth gauges for their boats. We then left Lipsi and for a day we sailed around small islands continuing bird surveying and fish surveys, sleeping the night at a small island named Marathi. We then headed back to Samos where we were given the opportunity to explore Pythagrio, which is the place where Pythagoras came up with his theory, sadly leaving the following day after an incredible two weeks.
As a whole what made this trip so enjoyable was the fact that we felt a part of the Archipelagos and Opwall team who gave us an incredible opportunity to work alongside them in some important scientific research. Not only this, we were able to spend a wonderful two weeks with a delightful group of students and teachers.