Today we got more of an introduction to all of the different projects that people are working on here at the base. I am a part of a team that is working with Marine Conservation. A small group, about three to five, are specializing on water quality. This means that we are looking at freshwater sources, saltwater sources, and bottled water found on and around the island we be analyzed. When we analyze the samples we are looking to see how the levels of different chemicals/components found in the water compare to the water regulations set by the EU and Greece.
In the morning we researched the health effects of micro-plastics on humans, fish, mammals and really any other organism that we can find. Those results were all really interesting to read, although we decided later in the day that we wanted to focus more on the humans and the effects micro-plastics have, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
After lunch, Scarlet and I got an introduction from Paul on how to analyze the filtered samples. During the analysis we filtered the water through a filtration system, then counted and categorized each piece of plastic that we found. This took over an hour and a half to analyze one sample because we were looking at a filter that, about 2 inches in diameter, with a compound light microscope. This analyzing took us about an hour and a half to finish one sample; and this was a sample of bottled water bought from a local shop. Thankfully we had three people working on it at one time, we were able to finish five samples today before the end of the work day.
After dinner a few of us planned a trip to church beach, but I missed out! No worries though, I ended up meeting a few more people who are working at the base and hearing a lot of great stories of what happened before I arrived. The newer people I met were from France, Britain, Scotland and Malta. Most of them here for small internships that serve as a requirement for their degree, others simply because they wanted to give back to Archipelagos. For example Jose, who is from France, is an engineering student who is helping Archipelagos build a rehabilitation center for dolphins, birds and other mammals that have been brought to Archipelagos base by locals, in the hopes of being rescued. This rehabilitation center is supposed to be located in Leipsoi, another small island located just south of Samos. The of the great things about this project is that the goal is to have the rehabilitation center run by renewable energy such as solar and hydro-power.
Overall today was a great first day, although I wouldn’t say my most productive day, it was really nice to get to know more people. It’s also getting much easier to understand everyone’s accents when they speak English. In fact, it was strange to hear someone say that it was easy to understand me because I didn’t have one.