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Archipelagos Institute

Marine Research and Conservation

Pythagorio, Greece

The Aegean Sea supports exceptional biodiversity, including rare and protected marine habitats
and species.

With over 18,000 km of coastline and one of the largest fishing fleets in the world, the monitoring of marine activities in Greece is no simple task. The Aegean Sea supports exceptional biodiversity, including rare and protected marine habitats and species. For over a decade, Archipelagos has been collecting data and monitoring important ecosystems of the region, assessing habitats and populations as well as factors impacting them. Knowledge acquired in this way enables us to develop successful, targeted management and conservation plans.

Data Collection

  • Recording the landings of artisanal fishery fleet.
  • Recording the catch data originating from loggers installed on fishermen’s gear.
  • Recording invasive species during fisheries landing surveys.
  • Recording invasive species by the means of underwater visual census (UVC) surveys in littoral zone ecosystems.
  • Mapping Posidonia seagrass meadows with a combination of boat, kayak and drone based surveys.
  • Participatory GIS surveys recording fishermen’s knowledge about the presence of coralligenous reefs.
  • Mapping the reefs during boat based surveys, with the use of cartographic camera, structure scanner and ROV.
  • Questionnaire based surveys to collect historical information on invasive species.
  • Collecting preliminary data required to identify the impacts on biodiversity and habitat health caused by different aquaculture practices.
  • Collecting preliminary data required to identify any changes in the ecosystem regarding biodiversity and community structure.
  • Collecting sediment samples, as well as pH, salinity and temperature data.
  • Biodiversity and community structure assessment of fish, invertebrates and algae.
  • Use of loggers for monitoring the temperature and light intensity levels.
  • Assessment of biodiversity and recolonisation rates in different substrates (artificial and natural).
  • Assessment of horizontal, vertical and diurnal variations of zooplankton.
  • Questionnaire based surveys to collect historical information on invasive species.
  • Conducting questionnaire based surveys to collect information about fisheries in the area, such as gear used, effort per catch, differences in catches over time and other historical data.
  • Researching and recording Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fisheries in Greek waters.
  • Monitoring fishing activities and promoting sustainability through establishing fishing grounds for towed fishing gear away from seagrass meadows.
  • Experimental installation of sustainable mooring systems over seagrass meadows.
  • Preparing environmental campaigns about Posidonia meadows and coralligenous reefs to enlist public support for their protection and to increase awareness of professional and recreational fishermen.
  • Lepidochronological study of Posidonia oceanica meadows.
  • Investigating features such as seamounts and canyons, as these are hotspots for breeding and feeding.

  • Risk analysis of shipping data regarding the Aegean Sea (combined analysis of risk factors related to past and current shipping routes).
  • Use of risk analysis data for the preparation of reports addressing the authorities and stakeholders, as well as awareness raising campaigns targeting the public.                                                
  • Analyzing the impact of aquaculture on coastal habitats and the accuracy of existing environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
  • Analyzing ROV video data and baited camera footage.
  • Morphology and growth assessment of the invasive algae species Caulerpa racemosa, as well as its impact on biodiversity.
  • Cover and health assessment of Posidonia oceanica seagrass beds, as well as the impact caused to them by trawling and anchorage of recreational boats.
  • Work related to the development and assessment of successful fisheries management measures.
  • Assessing the impact caused by illegal trawling activity.
  • Assessing the impact caused by invasive species.
  • Creating models of more sustainable approaches to aquaculture.
Work with GIS Mapping

  • Preparation of GIS maps showing the coralligenous reefs in the eastern Aegean.
  • Creating GIS maps which provide an overview of alien species distribution for fishermen and scientists.
  • Creation of GIS maps illustrating high/low risk zones and areas of high accident occurrence.
Community Work

  • Working on the establishment of the first fishery co-managed area in Greece.
  • Cooperation with an aquaculture company on Leros island to modify their practices, in order to result in a more eco-friendly approach.
What you should expect from your stay

The work of Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation, is built upon a strong and enthusiastic volunteer team. We are therefore seeking applicants that are motivated and have a strong desire to protect and conserve the natural environment. You must be conscientious and highly motivated, able to work both individually and as part of a dynamic, multi-cultural team of people from around the world. 

Typical day

Usual working hours are Monday - Friday from 09:00 AM - 6:00 PM including the following tasks.

  • Field work
  • Data collection 
  • Data analysis
  • Conservation activities

Free-time activities

Samos is one of the biggest islands of Greece and it's the favorite touristic destination in the north east aegean.
It features a rich history as well as beautiful nature, an intact infrastructure and friendly people who will make your stay a memorable one, be it for one week or many years. During the weekend the volunteers are organizing trips around the island or the near by islands boat trip, hiking, riding and so many other activities.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Required Documents
CV and motivation letter
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 18:00

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at Archipelagos Institute are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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We refund your fees if Archipelagos Institute cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Archipelagos Institute.
Services by Archipelagos Institute
  • Accommodation 
  • Meals 
  • Equipment and working expenses 
  • Transport for working purposes

We have shared rooms for 3 to 4 people with bathroom and balcony only 100 meters away from the sea.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

You will be getting three meals per day.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Samos Airport (SMI) in Samos. We assist you to find cheap flights to Greece.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Greece provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Greece you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Greece.
Costs (Prices in USD)
12 weeks (min. stay)
13 weeks
14 weeks
15 weeks
19 weeks
27 weeks
50 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Pythagorio/Greece between 12 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Archipelagos Institute will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Greece.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Archipelagos Institute during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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