South Western Milos island

Southern Cyclades, Aegean sea. A volcanic island, famous for its obsidian since the antiquities, its prehistoric settlements and its pirate history during the 16th and 17th century AD. The still active geological processes have crafted a unique coastal environment whose extension beneath the sea surface holds many surprises...   

The rocky coasts of Milos island still hold their dense algal forests, the seagrasses grow in high density and extent, while the sand at some specific spots here is teeming with... hydrothermal activity! CO2 and methane bubbles escape the bottom, the temperature of the sand reaches 100 degrees Celsius, while a community of bacteria spreads along the seafloor for hundreds of square metres, until waves raised by the southern winds start shifting the sand, and in effect destroying their white delicate mats.  

Assessing the state of the marine NATURA 2000 network in Greece

This new and ambitious project has recently started and I am part of the HCMR team that is involved in assessing the state of conservation of the marine habitat types and marine invertebrates protected by the EU Habitats Directive in Greece. Two years full of travelling and diving around Greece, sampling with non-destructive techniques, mapping with new state-of-the-art tools, photographing nature underwater and setting up stations for the future monitoring of the marine NATURA 2000 network in Greece. 

An excellent opportunity for me to gain an even more detailed insight of the state of the marine environment of different parts of the country and a better-informed, large-scale view of the pressures and threats that it is facing. 

For the time being, here as some recent photos shot around Sapientza island, just opposite of Methoni in the southern Peloponnese. They were taken during the dive for the characterisation and marking of the deeper limit of the lush and lively Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows (Habitat Type 1120) of the local NATURA 2000 site. 

Stay tuned, as I will be posting project info, updates and photos from the field in a frequent basis...

Photo published on the first page of Arab Times

A photo of mine from my recent expedition in Kuwait with Biodiversity East made it to the first page of today's issue of Arab Times, the english language daily newspaper of Kuwait. It features a cuttlefish couple in the coral reef setting of Qaru island in the Arabian Gulf. 

My photo of a cuttlefish couple from Qaru island, Kuwait on the first page of Arab Times.

My photo of a cuttlefish couple from Qaru island, Kuwait on the first page of Arab Times.

_DSC5811.jpg

Portfolio presentation by FOTOgrafos magazine

FOTOgrafos, the largest bimonthly photography magazine in Greece, presented my work publishing a 14-page portfolio and interview of mine in the summer issue, July-August 2013. The cuttlefish photo from Saronikos Gulf is probably the first marine life photo published on the cover of the magazine!

Cover of FOTOgrafos magazine, issue 225, July-August 2013

Cover of FOTOgrafos magazine, issue 225, July-August 2013

Portfolio in FOTOgrafos magazine, issue 225, July-August 2013

Portfolio in FOTOgrafos magazine, issue 225, July-August 2013

Opening of personal photo exhibition at Eugenides Foundation

Last night was the official opening of my personal photo exhibition "Benthos and Pelagos: Life in the Greek Seas" with texts by Maria Salomidi at Eugenides Foundation, sponsored by the Institute of Oceanography of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research.
 
The event was organised around the celebration of the World Environment Day and presentations about the Greek seas and our same-titled book preceded the opening of the exhibition.

This is the first photo exhibition in Greece with metal prints, a new print medium offering extreme durability, high contrast, colour richness and accuracy.  The prints were made by Photolab, the only printing lab in Greece offering this new print medium, and one of the few official Chromaluxe labs in Europe. Looking directly at them feels like standing in front of a high definition LCD screen, and a unique sense of depth arises from the images... Must see to believe!
 
The exhibition will be open and free for public viewing until the end of June, from 10.30 till 20.00, at Eugenides Foundation, 387 Syngrou Avenue, P. Faliro.
 
Here is the official announcement, for those than can read Greek!

Back from the Arabian Gulf

After 14 days spent in remote locations in the hot and humid Qatar and Kuwait, I am back to the mild climate of Greece with my mind full of memories and experiences...

From living and working for conservation with locals to underwater explorations in places few (if any) have seen, this trip has opened a new world in front of my eyes and lenses! One of the greatest surprises I had during this trip was the variety of marine life I encountered during the few dives I did in the Arabian Gulf. This is something I had not expected at all, having read scientific reports about the region regarding the extreme water temperature fluctuations during the year and the high salinity that fall well outside the optimum range for coral reef development and thus act as a limiting factor for the development of both corals and associated fauna. Especially in Kuwait, the actual living coral growth and abundance around the remote island Qaruh blew me away, considering that the 1996, 1998 and 2002 mass mortality events supposedly killed more than 90% of corals in the Gulf!

 
This is indeed a fragile underwater world that is much more interesting and rich than originally thought, and in dire need of appreciation and protection. 

Interview in the Greek newspaper To Vima

After speaking non-stop for 20 minutes on the telephone with reporter Irene Veniou while boarding a plane from Doha to Kuwait City, I was finally glad to see the actual print version of the newspaper the minute I set foot on Greece a week later!
 
It is a 2 page spread in one of the most popular newspapers in Greece, featuring some of my stories about marine life in the Greek seas, the need for marine conservation and the presentation of my book and upcoming photo exhibition at Eugenides Foundation. 

To Vima - Sunday, June 2

Participation in European Fish Week event in Lefkada

I just came back from Lefkada island, where I had been invited by MEDASSET (Mediterranean  Association to Save the Sea Turtles) to take part in the local European Fish Weeks event they were organizing during 13-16 July in ARTiria gallery in Lefkada. European Fish Weeks events are part of the campaign of OCEAN2012 (an alliance of over 160 organisations dedicated to putting an end to overfishing in the European Union) and they are organized all over Europe this summer. The idea behind these events is to educate the public about the problem of overfishing and ask them to put pressure on the politicians to pass specific measures in the reform of the Common FIsheries Policy that is to be voted on September by the European Parliament. 

During my stay in Lefkada, I did a few dives and captured images of the underwater life of the island which I used in the short presentation I did on Monday evening as a prologue to the screening of the award winning film "The End of the Line". The event was a success and I got the chance to talk to the locals (and especially children) about the wealth of marine life in our seas and the threats it is facing due to both our actions and inactions. Refrasing John Lennon's words... all I am saying is give FISH a chance!

 

P.S. A big thanks to Nautilus Diving Club in Vassiliki - Lefkada for the support they provided me while diving in the southern part of their island.