iSea aims to monitor the expansion and establishment of marine alien species in Greece and neighbouring countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, in particular Cyprus. The project is based on observations sent by non-experts that spend their time at the sea. Currently the project has a research permit from the Greek Ministry of Environment to collect specimens of alien species in order to study their biology and ecology.
What we have achieved so far …
The observations map
The map is updated on a monthly basis
How to contribute?
- Become a member by joining the project's Facebook Group. Post your observations of marine alien species and comment and discuss other member's findings!
- Send us your observations via
- the Greek Observation Form
- the English Observation Form
- the Turkish Observation Form
- the Albanian Observation Form
- Inform the people around you, where to report their observations
- Become a member of our research team by sending your CV at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the alien species;
- Alien species: any live specimen of a species, subspecies or lower taxon of animals, plants, fungi or microorganisms [that does not natively belong to the ecosystem/ecological niche it has been found in??]
- Introduced species: is any species outside its natural range [but that has been purposefully / intentionally inserted into a new ecosystem?]
- Invasive alien species: is an alien species whose appearance and proliferation in an ecosystem has been found to threaten or adversely impact upon biodiversity and related ecosystem function.
- Invasive alien species of Union concern: is an invasive alien species whose adverse impact has been deemed such as to require concerted action at Union level
- Invasive alien species of Member State concern:is an invasive alien species other than an invasive alien species of Union concern, for which a Member State considers on the basis of scientific evidence that the adverse impact of its release and spread, even where not fully ascertained, is of significance for its territory, or part of it, and requires action at the level of that Member State
- Lessepsianmigrants: marine species migrating across the Suez Canal, usually from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and more rarely in the opposite direction.
Problems caused by invasive species
More than 1000 marine alien species have been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea with more than 300 found in Greece. A number of these are considered invasive causing ecological damage such as displacement of indigenous species, loss of genotypes, alteration of the structure of indigenous communities, change of food webs etc. Equally, they have a significant impact on local economies in regons throughout Greece as they affect fishing catches and tourism. The European Commision has estimated the economic impact of invasive species at 12 billion euros per year. Lastly, some species are a direct threat to people such as, Lagocephalus sceleratus, which is toxic if consumed and can lead to death. or Pterois spp. which is poisonous to touch and contact with skin can vary from very painful to deadly.
The primary introduction pathway of alien species in the Mediterranean Sea is the Suez canal thus the majority of species entering the basin has a Indo-Pacific and Red sea origins. At the same time, many species have entered the Mediterranean Sea through shipping, by attaching on ships or through the ballast waters. Aquaculture and aquarium intentional or deliberate releases are also other pathways of introduction.
At the European level Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 on the prevention and the management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species, propose actions to all Member States for invasive alien species included in the list of species of the Union Concern. Find the list here.
Alien species are also included in Marine Strategy Framework Directive as a separate indicator for the assessment of the environmental status of the marine environment and its ecosystems by the Member States and in the Biodiversity strategy for 2020 as Target 5: combating invasive alien species.
Moreover, for species of the Tetraodontidae family, Regulation (EC) No 1021/2008 indicates that checks are to take place ensuring that no fishery products derived from these species will be placed on the market. While a number of other regulations also exists such as Regulation (EC) 708/2007 concerning the use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture and Regulation (EC) 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by controlling their marketing.
Greece itself applies, ΝΟΜΟΣ 3937 ΦΕΚ 60/Α/31.3.2011 for the conservation of biodiversity and other provisions; according to which invasive alien species are subdivided into classes based on the risk of spreading and the estimated impacts on the structure and the functioning of the ecosystems. Depending on the risk category, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change prepares management plans for the its invasive alien species. The plans include arrangements for the following topics:
(a) Prevention of the introduction of invasive alien species and information exchange
(b) Early detection and eradication, including the prevention of the spread of invasive alien species.
(c) Monitoring, control and long-term containment of invasive alien species.
(d) The restoration of the biodiversity of ecosystems affected by the settlement of alien invasive populations.
Crustaceans: Theodoros Kampouris
Echinoderma: Joachim Langeneck
Other Collaborators: Sara Almabruk, Lydia Alvanou, Rigers Bakiu, Michel Bariche, Murat Celik, Aris Christidis, Alan Deidun, Halit Filiz, Panagiota Katikou, Stelios Katsanevakis, Serpil Sağır Odabaşı, Sezginer Tuncer, Michail Ragkousis, Umut Uyan
Publications in Press
- Σκόπελος: Έπιασε λοφιόψαρο, το ψάρι που έχει καταγραφεί μόλις τέσσερις φορές στην Ελλάδα.
- Το νέο πρόγραμμα της iSea για τα ξενικά είδη ψαριών στην Ελλάδα και πως μπορούμε όλοι να βοηθήσουμε
- Συναγερμός στο Αιγαίο για το ψάρι με το θανατηφόρο άγγιγμα
- To επικινδυνο "άγγιγμα" της ξενικής μέδουσας Rhopilema nomadica στην Ελλάδα.
- Κατουρλίδα ή Σακκοράφα
- Λαγόψαρα: Οι τοξικοί εισβολείς τρομοκρατούν και τις θαλασσες τις Β. Ελλάδας
- Ο Μονόχειρος και ο Βαλιστής – Δύο ψάρια που συχνά μπερδεύουμε…
- Δύο νέοι εισβολείς στη Μεσόγειο
- Διαφυγές από ενυδρεία - Πηγή εισαγωγής ξενικών ειδών
- Caulerpa taxifolia: Ένα φύκι δολοφόνος στη Μεσόγειο
- Οχι λαγοκέφαλο στο πιάτο! Συμβουλές για τα ξενικά είδη ψαριών
- Ποια ψάρια των ελληνικών θαλασσών δεν πρέπει να φάτε ποτέ
a) in Peer-reviewed journals
- Giovos, I., Bakiu, R. (2017). The first record of Oilfish, Ruvettus pretiosus (Cocco, 1833) in Albanian waters. in Collective A, New Mediterranean biodiversity records (July 2017) Gerovasileiou et al. 18(2), 355-384.
- Ragkousis, M., Marmara, D., Halit, F., Umut, U., Tuncer, S., Giovos, I. (2017). The northward expansion of Synaptula reciprocans (Forskal, 1775) in the Mediterranean Sea.Journal of the Black Sea/Mediterranean Environment, 23(3): 209-215.
- Giovos, I., Bernardi G., Romanidis-Kyriakidis, G., Marmara, D., Kleitou, P. (2018). First records of the fish Abudefduf sexfasciatus and Acanthurus sohal in the Mediterranean Sea. BioInvasions Records 7 (2): 205-210.
- Giovos, I., Kletou, P., Paravas, P., Marmara, D., Romanidis-Kyriakidis, G., Poursanidis, D. (2018). Citizen scientists monitoring the establishment and expansion of Pterois miles (Bennett, 1828) in the Aegean Sea, Greece. Cahiers de Biologie Marine 59 : 359 - 365.
- Kleitou, P., Kalogirou, S., Marmara, D., Giovos, I. (2018). Coryphaena hippurus: A potential predator of Lagocephalus sceleratus in the Mediterranean Sea. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, 6(3): 93-95.
- Kampouris, T.E., Tiralongo, F., Golemaj, A., Giovos, I., Doumpas, N., Batjakas, I. (2018). Penaeus aztecus Ives, 1891 (Decapoda, Dendrobranchiata, Penaeidae): On the range expansion in Sicilian waters and on the first record from Albanian coast. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies 2018; 6(4): 468-471.
- Çelik, M., Deidun, A., Uyan, U., Giovos, I. (2018). Filling the gap: a new record of diamondback puffer (Lagocephalus guentheri Miranda Riberio, 1915) from the west-eastern Mediterranean Sea, Turkey. Journal of the Black Sea/ Mediterranean Environment 4(2): 180-185.
- Al-Mabruk, S.A.A., Stoilas, V.O., Kleitou, P., Giovos, I. (2018). The first record of Torquigener flavimaculosus (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) from Libya. International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies 6(4): 449-450.
- Kampouris, T.E., Giovos, I., Doumpas, N., Stergioti, A., Batjakas, I.(2018). Prawn cocktail in Crete. First record of Penaeus pulchricaudatus (Stebbing, 1914) and on the establishment of P. aztecus, (Ives, 1891) and P. hathor (Burkenroad, 1959) (Decapoda, Dendrobranchiata, Penaeidae) in Cretan waters, south Aegean Sea, Greece. Journal of the Black Sea/Mediterranean Environment (IN PRESS).
- Kleitou, P., Giovos, I., Tiralongo, F., Doumpas, N., Giacomo, B. (2018). Westernmost record of the diamondback puffer, Lagocephalus guentheri (Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) in the Mediterranean Sea: First record from Greek waters. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 00:1–4.
b) in Conferences
- Marmara, D., Keramidas, I., Paravas, V., Giovos, I. (2017). The invasive Lionfish in Greece. Workshop on the Lionfish in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: New problems, new solutions: Distribution, Eradication & Utilization, Antalya, Turkey.
- Giovos, I., Doumpas, N., Ioannou, I., Sarafidou, G., Marmara, D., Paravas, V., (2017). Is Alien to you...Share it!!! A Citizen Science Project on alien species in Greece. ESENIAS Conference, Sofia, Bulgaria.
- Keramidas, I., Doumpas, N., Kleitou, P., Tiralongo, F., Bernardi G., Romanidis-Kyriakidis, G., Marmara, D., Giovos, I. (2018). Is it Alien to you?? Share it!!: Citizen scientists monitoring Non-Indigenous species in Greece. 12th Panhellenic Symposium of Oceanography & Fisheries Ionian University, Corfu, 30 May – 3 June 2018
- Doumpas, N., Giovos, I., Kalogirou, S. (2018). The misconception of pufferfish consumption in Greece through social media sentiment analysis. ESENIAS & DIAS Conference 2018, 8th ESENIAS Workshop, Bucharest, 2018
The aim of the program is to establish long-term partnerships with all stakeholders like Marine Protected Areas Management Bodies, diving and fishing clubs, NGOs, Research Institutes etc., with the aim of informing the inventory of aquatic alien species in Greece. Therefore, iSea is collaborating with the Ellenic Network on Aquatic Invasive Species (ELNAIS) and the European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN). If you are willing to become a project partner, contact us at email@example.com
International and National Bodies and Information Networks
MPA Management Bodies
Collaborating Facebook Groups and Pages
To receive the poster, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org