Protecting the Inner Ionian Archipelago and Formicula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago has a great ecological value due to the presence of a significant number of species of marine megafauna (dolphins, sea turtles, Mediterranean monk seals Monachus monachus, etc.) and the presence of extended Posidonia oceanica meadows. Under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC the monk seal is listed as a priority species, and P. oceanica as a priority habitat.

The distinct morphology of the area’s marine and coastal parts, characterised by the presence of many submerged caves, provides important habitat for the reproduction of the Mediterranean monk seal, a highly threatened marine mammal in the Mediterranean and land listed as Endangered (EN) in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The site is also part of the wider Ionian Archipelago "Important Marine Mammal Area" (IMMA), which includes the presence of the Cuvier's beaked whale, the fin whale, the common dolphin and the common bottlenose dolphin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past, the Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago hosted an important resident population of the Endangered (EN) common dolphin, but in less than 10 years their population collapsed from 150 to zero because of overfishing of sardines (Sardina pilchardus) and the consequent collapse of the stock. Two species of sea turtles are present in the area, the loggerhead and the green turtle, while the site has been also designated as an "Important Bird Area" (IBA) and is home to several marine pelagic species such as the Yelkouan shearwater and the Scopoli's shearwater, as well as the European shag. The area was recently characterised as “Area of Interest” for sharks and rays and especially for two species of benthic sharks (Little Gulper Shark and Longnose Spurdog) and for the Endangered (EN) Spinetail Devil Ray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the area has historically been important for the Mediterranean monk seal with its presence appearing to have increased in recent years. Monk seal monitoring in the Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago, and more specifically around Formicula by the Tethys Research Institute over the last decade has allowed to photo-identify more than 30 seals, some of them showing a strong site-fidelity being observed in several consecutive years. The condition of monk seals in the waters around Formicula is at the same time very exciting (due to the unprecedented and increasing numbers of sightings lately, including pups), but in parallel very worrisome due to disturbance caused by tourism. Like Formicula, two other uninhabited islands exist in the area, Atokos and Arkoudi which are a bit remote as well and their marine environments haven’t been studied thoroughly.

iSea aims to increase the knowledge about the biodiversity of the Inner Ionian Sea Archipelago and improve its management and the protection of threatened and protected species by the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.

 

Actions of 2023
You can find our past work in the area below:
Project's Team
Ioannis Giovos

Ioannis Giovos

Born in Thessaloniki, Ioannis is a graduate of the Biology Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, with a Master’s degree in Fisheries Biology and Management from the same University. Currently, he continues his studies at the University of Patras in collaboration with the University of Padua as a Ph.D. Candidate focusing on shark and ray conservation policies.

With over a decade of experience in Mediterranean apex predators conservation and having served in major organisations such as the Tethys Research Institute, the Institute of Marine Research and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Ioannis currently coordinates several projects and initiatives related to the conservation of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean. At the same time, he is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group, he is the current President of the European Elasmobranch Association. He has more than 50 articles published in scientific journals and more than 60 communications at international and national conferences while he has been involved in the drafting of 3 Action Plans for Endangered Species and participated in the publication of 5 books. He speaks 3 foreign languages, Greek (native) English (C1), Spanish (B2) and is a PADI diving instructor. He’s the Conservation Officer of iSea. 

 

Contact Info:

Email: [email protected]

tel. +302313090696

mob: +306945880415

Roxani Naasan Aga – Spyridopoulou

Roxani Naasan Aga – Spyridopoulou

Roxani is an environmentalist, she holds a bachelor’s in Marine sciences from the University of Aegean. In 2019, she started working on projects for the “Aquatic Litter” and the “Vulnerable Species” departments. Currently, she is working as a Project Manager for projects regarding “Vulnerable Species” and “Human and Aquatic Ecosystems”.

Her main research interests are related to elasmobranch ecology and biology, fisheries biology, and marine protected areas. She holds a speedboat licence, and a diving licence and is multilingual (Greek, Arabic, English, and French). She knows how to code in R. She is a qualified user of ArcGIS and SNAP(ESA). Furthermore, she knows how to use software for ecological data (Vissim, Populus, Primer, Presence, Distance).

Before this, she used to work with humanitarian NGOs for refugees in Greece as a cultural mediator and interpreter.

 

Contact Info:

Email: [email protected] 

tel. +302313090696

mob. +306944505224 

Nikoletta Sidiropoulou

Nikoletta Sidiropoulou

Nikoletta was born in Veria and is a graduate of Marine Biology with Oceanography from Southampton University. She has participated and implemented actions of European projects, National plans and financial institutions. She has worked as a Project Manager in ARCHELON, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece organizing and coordinating all actions of public awareness and protection of sea turtles and their habitats in Zakynthos island and Amvrakikos Gulf. She has an SSI advanced Open Water Diver diploma and speaks three languages, Greek (native), English (C2) and Dutch (B1).  She’s working as a Project Manager in the Human & Aquatic Ecosystems. 

 

Contact Info:

Email: [email protected]

tel. +302313090696

mob. +306982766371

Collaborators
Funders