Being a couple of months through my placement with Archipelagos on the Greek island of Samos, I thought I would write a blog about the work that I am doing out here. For a start do not be fooled – Greece has a winter and it is horrible! When I arrived here the sun was still shining constantly and temperatures rarely dropped below 30 even at night. Then last week we had a huge storm and since then the temperature has dropped ridiculously to the point I was wearing a woolly hat and gloves this morning. I have been told that it will heat up again, but at the moment, with my hands wrapped around a mug of tea, I refuse to believe this!
Although Archipelagos is predominantly a marine organisation it also does work on land as well. It is this terrestrial team that I am part of. My role here predominantly involves working with the chameleons on the island. First of all when I came here I had no idea that chameleons lived in the Mediterranean let alone in Greece! As it turns out the species of chameleon that is found on Samos is not found anywhere else in Greece and is therefore meant to be protected. However very little work has been done on them and no one knows how many there are on the island or their exact locations.
My job involves going out at various times of the day with a small team and surveying two transects near our base. We have to walk slowly up and down these transects searching the vegetation for chameleons. Obviously this is very hard as by nature they change their colour to match the vegetation, but it is possible! Once we find one, we capture it, measure its size, check if its male or female before releasing it again. I have to admit my first chameleon capture was incredibly exciting and the creatures are amazingly. Their ability to change colour in your hand and vanish into the trees, regardless of how well you follow them, is absolutely fascinating!
I am thoroughly enjoying my placement with Archipelagos, as not only am I experiencing the joys of working on a small Greek island, learning a language and culture that is so alien to me. I am also working with fascinating creatures and have met and worked with people from around the world.