Welcome to the alien species recording platform by citizen scientists!
An initiative of the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes / Hellenic Center for Marine Research!
Citizen science is defined as the participation of citizens in scientific research. The development of technology and the increased use of the internet and social media in recent years has allowed bathers, divers and fishermen, amateurs or professionals, to indulge in scientific research. The involvement of citizen scientists in biodiversity monitoring provides valuable data, which the scientific community increasingly seems to be tapping into, especially for the study of alien species.
In recent decades, due to globalization (intensification of trade and human movement) and climate change (increased sea water temperature) the number of alien species in the Mediterranean has increased rapidly. An alien or non-native species is a species that has spread to areas outside of its natural range through anthropogenic activities (e.g. shipping, trade, tourism, pet trade). It is estimated that approximately 1.000 marine alien species have entered the Mediterranean, of which more than 300 have been recorded in Greece (a large percentage of these have been recorded for the first time in Rhodes). Some alien species, the so-called invasive species, have devastating consequences for biodiversity (predation or displacement of native species, modification of the food web, transmission of pests and diseases), but also for fishing (destruction of fishing equipment, reduction of commercial catches).
Rhodes, due to its special position in the SE Aegean, is the most frequent gateway to Greek (and European) waters for alien marine species from the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The specific program promotes the participation of citizen scientists in the research of the spread of alien species on the coasts of Rhodes and the surrounding islands and aims to collect their valuable records. It is widely known that early reporting of the presence of a new alien species can contribute to limiting the adverse effects of its establishment.
This research has been supported by the project «DRESSAGE – Development of the infrastructure, human resources, marine research and innovation of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR) in the South Aegean Region» (MIS 5045792) which is implemented in the framework of the Action «Development of Research and Innovation Infrastructures», financed by the Operational Program «Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation» (NSRF 2014-2020) and co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund).