Cyprus Mail

British bases organise a European Bioblitz on Alien Species   

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Children on the hunt for alien species

The European Bioblitz took place at the Akrotiri Environmental and Education Centre (AEEC) between May 26-28 with the emphasis on the Akrotiri wetlands area.

The three-day event focused on recording the biodiversity of the Akrotiri peninsula to detect alien species; those which threaten biodiversity, human health, society and the economy.

More than 14,000 alien species have been introduced across Europe, and in Cyprus that number exceeds 1,200.

The pan-European BioBlitz is part of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) ALIEN Citizen Science Initiatives (CSI) project, in which 10 countries participated and was organised by the Joint Services Health Unit (JSHU) along with the AEEC.

There was also involvement by the Governmental Unit for Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, Alien CSI, COST and Enalia Physis – Environmental Research Centre on Marine Science.

Over the three-day period, awareness activities on invasive alien species took place which saw primary school students observing and recording them on a beach at the peninsula, whilst other attendees recorded alien and indigenous species in the area near the salt marsh. The data was then registered in the project “Akrotiri BioBlitz 2023”.

Dr Kelly Martinou, Head Entomologist at JSHU and the lead for the Akrotiri BioBlitz, explained the importance of the three-day workshop.

“Invasive alien species in Cyprus, alongside climate change and urban development, are a major threat on land, in lakes and rivers and the sea,” she said.

“Some can also be a threat to the tourism industry.”

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