Samothraki Nature Observatory: Summer 2014 Notes

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Samothraki Nature Observatory: Summer 2014 Notes



end of July 2014

HCMR research continues this summer in Samothrace. My personal contribution during this week-long period was focused on the study of coastal conditions and the structure of key vegetation in the tugai forests, as well as the ichthyofauna in swamps and rivers. He also took notes on birds.

Our colleagues Anastasia Lambou, Nikos Skoulikidis, and local supporters and guests are also doing other research, primarily on waterways and in support of local conservation initiatives. We all thank team manager Nikos Skoulikidis for his extra effort. Vasa Vlami helped a lot on the field. Anastasia, who plans to write a doctoral dissertation on the fauna of the macro-reverse rivers of the island, also plays an important role in organizing this initiative. We also thank the local authorities who support our stay on the island.

During the week between the end of July and the beginning of August we explored the riverine environment in the north and west of the island; Electric fishing and purse seine in some streams and in the main part of the Agios Andreas lagoon. We also communicate a lot with residents and local authorities.

The weather was stormy for almost three days and prevented us from climbing into the highlands, where we were planning a "big pass" through the southern desert of the island (from Watos Beach to Fonias Springs through the high Yali valley). A good reason to return.

Here I wrote some notes (collected during the crossing to Alexandroupolis):

REMARKS FROM NATURAL HISTORY

Some observations I made during this trip:
  • Water levels in streams and wetlands have been surprisingly high this year, with most of the water arriving very late in the spring and even in the summer (!!).  The salt lagoon (Almiri) near Agios Andreas was full of water (unlike last year) and nesting terns ( T. tadorna - large group of about 12 individuals with a calf) and many riders were seen. not young). . ).
  • I did four electrolyte tests; only with Mugilids caught in the Varades stream (by the way, a stream that did not flow into the sea last year). In Palipudi (where there was a large square in the village of Alonia) there are no black spots.
  •  The Agios Andreas purse seine produced the usual community (bulls and sukuni, as shown in my last blog post on the subject last year); but the lagoon is probably artificially isolated from the sea and does not contain populations of anadromous fish. However, I saw three great cormorants, five cormorants and two little grebes fishing in the lagoon. They feed only on large Gobius cobitis ?).
  • I did 14 QBR+ surveys. These are riparian vegetation surveys and riparian habitat assessment protocols. I have a blackberry Morus sp. (Never saw); I was surprised by this lack of exotic species; nor the wide Arunda (that is, the great reed, otherwise the general stream that cuts through the Aegean Sea). In general, the coast of the island is very "northern" and cool, Alnus is common (but Platanus dominates).
  •  I found a new spot with the tortoise Mauremys rivulata at Polypoudi in the village of Alonia.
  •  The island was quite rich in birds, although we visited it during a very quiet period between nesting and the beginning of autumn migration; We don't really watch birds. In total, I counted 35 species. This included a migrating group of Chlidonian terns (over 50) leaving the harbor on 3 August . Pigeons, bee-eaters nest a lot; and something I didn't notice last year: a flock of kestrels in the fields around the Agios Andreas lagoon (!!). The island had curlews nesting in the pasture steppes of the north coast, and a group of Eleonora's falcons (5-6) in the Varades-Terma-Paleopolis area. Finally, twice we had excellent prospects for peregrine falcons near Lakoma (which confirms the regular nesting).
 STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS

Finally, a note about the people and the environmental movement in Samothrace. We met with the new mayor and the new deputy mayor and praised our common interests. We met with many locals and were particularly impressed by the Sustainable Trucking Initiative and its members. We wish them all the best in this initiative. We also hope that the UNESCO MAB Prize will be continued and the development of the protected area will be successful; Austro-academic ties are very important here.

A few conservation notes that caught my attention this time (my fourth visit to SNO*):
  • The coastal and riparian forest of Plata , on the north coast from Paleopolis in the west to Platypatamos, is an unearthly marvel found nowhere else in the Greek islands. Moisture-loving coastal forest! It is the island's main attraction for nature exploration (small wetlands, estuaries, green beaches shaded by plane trees ). (And he has two municipal campsites). It is threatened, first of all, by its internal gradual development: all kinds of development, the expansion of cities for summer cottages, uncontrolled tourist expansion. Fortunately, after 2008 this type of construction stopped and slowed down due to the economic depression in Greece. The territory requires special study, special zoning for its protection as a “landscape monument” within a larger protected area. It is located within the larger Natura 2000 area.
  •  In many areas, especially in the north and west, there is overexploitation of water resources and thoughtless waste. And this is with the ONLY abundance of water on the island! Although the population of the island is much smaller today (about 2,800 people), the demand for water is increasing due to summer tourism, small-scale summer irrigation, etc. Several streams in the lower reaches were "artificially blocked" during the summer; We have not yet mapped this phenomenon, but it is well known to local observers.
  •  local water pollution. The rivers Kasambas, Palipudi (sources) and Lakoma are locally polluted; This could probably be reduced if point source pollution was addressed and enforced. Some wetlands have also been filled in and generally polluted (for example, the small lagoon at Kamariotis is completely "glazed").
  •  Many people complain about overfishing; rapid decline in fish stocks. There is local interest in the protected area (this part is also included in the Natura 2000 network as a specially protected area). This topic requires special study. For example, the wild coast in the southeast and parts of the north could be protected from underwater hunters. Also keep an eye out for the huge trawlers in the harbor of Kamariotis. But the impact of fishing is certainly catastrophic; certainly not sustainable.
  • We all talk a lot about "overgrazing" as a powerful destructive pressure on the island. Good on Samothrace! More than 90 thousand goats (this is a constant estimate, wait for the next "document" ...). The issue of overgrazing has been challenged by the cultural landscape concept; look at Rackham's work... As most terrestrial ecologists know, lack of grazing is a real problem in many parts of Europe, so this controversy is of interest. I've had some experience with this in south Euboea so it's familiar territory and I've been exploring conflicting approaches to recovery. Here in Samothraki you have to be careful and understand the real conditions that have contributed to the recent increase in livestock grazing (EU subsidies...). The problem of grazing should be studied very carefully as soon as possible. However, I believe that other environmental issues are currently more serious on Samothraki . The issue of livestock grazing is a very sensitive one as well as a social issue (...we can easily spoil the planning of our protected areas if we allow planning errors here...). I recommend focusing on both the "grazing problem" and the "forest conservation problem", they are interrelated, but different directions of action are very important in conservation programs. Preserving forests in Samothrace means protecting the remaining plantations from vegetation degradation (e.g. stopping the effects of overgrazing to start natural regeneration), as well as finding where and how we can restore true forests (e.g. around the remaining stands, etc.) . . The "herd problem" requires incentives and social work to support the herders.
  •  What "protected area" should we plan for Samothrace? I have a feeling that most European countries have a certain level of specificity, wildlife, impressive aesthetic qualities, rich biodiversity, rarity of places, etc. This will indicate the state of the national park in most of the island. The MAB proposal for protected areas is "modified" to make the protected area declaration "international". Municipalities want to support the designation of protected areas, but are not yet very familiar with it. It takes time, commitment, real local commitment, is it worth it? Yes, in the course of growth, I would like to see a “feasibility study” for planning the designation of protected areas; It is not easy to say what we can do and why we want such a "park" for Samothrace. And the construction of the park is outdated today. So let's think further, study and support Samothrace.
* Natural Observatory of Samothrace

(Note: for more information about the inland waters of Samothraki see: http://zogaris.blogspot.gr/2013/08/samothraki-inland-water-fishes.html )




Not far from the Mountain: Ruined Landscape... Professor Rackham, it's all settled! ... However, believe me, this is an extreme "look". Samothrace is bad, but this extreme state is "poorly" localized.

Ano Karyotes Auwald - Domina Platanus .
Lianas in the "warm" tugai forests at lower altitudes along the lower banks of the Palipudi stream.
Sampling site Ano-karyotes; Please note that naturists sunbathe for rock climbing.
Agios Petros stream in Kipas: new sampling point with perennial stream.
Arroyo Varades, this year with a constant current in the sea and small headlands in the shallow water of the seabed.
Reservoirs are blocked by the pebbly beach of Agios Petros after the rains of late spring and early summer.
Estuary of Polypotamos, temporary reservoirs after unusual summer rains.
The mouth of the Palipudi River is now almost completely dry, with a very small source of water flowing from a small pumping station. No discarded fish were found in the old aquarium, so the fish don't come...
Powerful fishing selfie in the swamps - deep puddles, huge black fish, sycamore roots - great habitat for eels, not eels! Negative data is DATA!!!
Mauremys rivulata has been found in the polluted waters of Palipudi near Alonia. Although the species is somewhat "pollution resistant", its insular populations are fragmented and vulnerable.
Ideal conditions for a purse seine - fish are caught in a small clean bay!
Fish in the lagoon and collect a lot of shrimps.
Anastasia and me with a fryer in the lagoon of Agios Andreas. The storm was coming.
Almiri Lagoon, south of Agios Andreas. A vast area of ​​significant botanical and ornithological interest.
Storm from the west: an hour later we were soaked through. (No party on the beach...).
Micromarsh "Menta" in Varades, usually dry even in spring (see previous posts); now with dishes!

The Agios Andreas lagoon looks very Norwegian... (Thanks to Robin for the aesthetic photo)
Sunset from Panagia Krymniotis just after the storm.
Possibly endemic; in the rain in Panagia Krymniotis. Please correct me Mr. Bill.
The team includes: Vaso, Anastasia, Nikos, Maria and Robin.






















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