The Sail & Explore Association has established a collaboration with Nautilos for organising an expedition to explore the occurrence and impact of microplastics in the Aegean Sea.
In the framework of the WP12 Synergies of the NAUTILOS project, the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC) of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) collaborated with the Sail and Explore Association in order to study plastic and micro-plastic pollution in the Aegean Sea, Greece. Two young marine scientists, Markos Digenis and Ioannis Rallis from IMBBC – HCMR participated in a sailing expedition around the Cyclades Islands (Central Aegean Sea). The aim of the expedition was to investigate plastic pollution in this area in relation with meteorological data and sea currents. The duration of the sailing expedition was 14 days during which the team implemented samplings at ten stations around nine islands of the Cyclades. Microplastics were collected using two Manta Trawl nets of 300μm and 150μm diameter.
The two IMBBC-HCMR scientists participated in complementary dissemination activities giving lectures on board to the non-scientific participants on the following subjects: 1) basics of marine ecology, a) aims of the NAUTILOS project, 3) marine cave ecosystems and 4) alien species in artificial substrates (ports and marinas). In addition, they participated in beach cleanings in Paros Island in collaboration with a local NGO (Common Seas). Upon their return, they also presented the outcome of this expedition in HCMR researchers, young scientists and students.