According to the recent Institute’s business plan (2006-2008), the activities of IIW focus on three main research directions.

1. Ecological quality assessments and monitoring
2. Biodiversity conservation and environmental restoration
3. Integrated river basin management

Ecological quality assessments and monitoring

The research aims and activities of this direction are tightly linked with the provisions of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/ĹC). In line with this requirement, effort has been devoted in developing ecological status assessment and classification systems, based on three classes of environmental components (biological, hydromorphological and physicochemical). The emphasis is placed on the establishment of biological classification criteria and systems, using appropriate taxonomic groups (in particular, fish and benthic macroinvertebrates) as a means to substantiate ecological quality. So far, the relevant research activities have been focused on the development of bioassessment methods for rivers. Utilising established methodologies, the following research tasks were undertaken: developing river typology schemes, using abiotic and biotic criteria, establishing type-specific reference conditions, selecting suitable metrics for measuring ecological degradation with respect to their sensitivity to particular types of anthropogenic stress and defining the metric scale which allows the degree of deviations from the reference conditions to be ascertained. Finally, bioasseys and ecotoxicological experiments to assess the impact of wastes on the benthic invertebrate fauna have been also applied.

Biodiversity conservation and environmental restoration
The aims and activities of this research direction focus on the maintenance and restoration of the natural environment, according to the requirements of the EU Directive on Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Flora and Fauna (92/43/EEC), and also to the principals set by the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 1979) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro, 1992). Accordingly, environmental management tools for maintaining essential ecological processes and life support systems have been developed. Research activities include, taxonomic validations (morphologic/morphometric and genetic) of vulnerable or endangered taxa; species’ distribution surveys and assessments of conservation status; identification of pressures on habitats with priority for conservation or habitats that sustain threatened species; surveys related to the ecological requirements of species, as well as formulation and implementation of environmental management/action plans for the restoration and conservation of endangered species and habitats.

Integrated river basin management
The aims and activities of this research direction are in accordance with the provisions of the WFD and the Greek Law 3199/2003 on the “Management and Protection of Water Resources”, which is adapted to the demands of the WFD. The main interest of the relevant research team is the application of hydro-meteorological and water quality models, to simulate the relevant processes driving hydrology and the ecological status, and to produce management scenarios at an ecosystem or river basin scale. Particular activities of this research team were: the design of appropriate monitoring networks, the conventional and automatic monitoring, the assessment of pressures and impacts, application and production of thematic GIS maps. Concerning modelling, meteorological models to forecast extreme events, budget models, 2-D, 3-D dynamic models of surface and groundwater hydrology and pollution transport and dispersion, at scales ranging from local to large river basins, and decision support models for the design of catchment management plans, are applied. In addition, methods of vulnerability mapping and ground water pollution assessment are implemented.


Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) !!!

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