NEO Research Station
Photo: Giorgos Maneas

The Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO), is a Mediterranean hub for research and education where science, business, society and policy-makers cooperate to create a more sustainable future under a changing climate. NEO was established in 2009 as a collaboration between Stockholm University, the Academy of Athens and TEMES SA, an enterprise in Greece aiming to create sustainable tourism developments. 


Bird Watching
Photo: Dimitris Bousbouras

Bird monitoring at Gialova Lagoon. Giorgos Maneas is an employee at the Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University. He is the Station Manager at the Navarino Environmental Observatory since 2012 and he is also a part-time PhD student since 2016. “I focus my research efforts on the co-adaptive management of ecosystem services of Gialova Lagoon wetland and surrounding catchments with emphasis on biodiversity conservation, and water resources management, under a changing climate”, he says. 

Under the project, several NEO scientists, together with colleagues from Greek institutions, technology experts, fishermen, environmental managers, local authorities and foundations, have joined forces regarding studying and co-designing of sustainable fishing, nature conservation and eco-tourism development in the years to come.


Photo: Paul Strehlenert

The Gialova Lagoon wetland is a Natura 2000 protected area located in Messinia, Greece (the location of NEO field station is also marked in the picture). The wetland has the potential to provide a variety of ecosystem services to the community, but it has been degraded due to anthropogenic activities and is affected by climate change. 


Photo: Giorgos Maneas

Here professor Sara Cousins is lecturing bachelor students during a field excursion on Taygetos Mountains, the excursion is part of a Physical Geography course at Stockholm University). During a regular year, NEO will host more than 200 visitors, during educational visits, fieldwork campaigns, and workshops. However, due to the pandemic situation, most visits from abroad have been postponed. With the expectation that the pandemic situation will improve in the future, some of the visits at NEO are already rescheduled for autumn 2021.


Photo: Trifonas Douvris

To better understand the processes (natural and anthropogenic) affecting the nearby Gialova Lagoon wetland, apart from field observations, NEO has established a network of sensors for monitoring basic water physical-chemical and meteorological parameters inside the wetland and at the surrounding catchment area. Here is Giorgos Maneas together with NEO assistant, Christos Pantazis, during fieldwork inside the wetland.  


Atmospheric station
Photo: Christos Pantazis

NEO operates an Atmospheric Observation Station at Methoni, approximately 20 km south of NEO field station. The role of the station is to maintain long term monitoring of aerosol physical, chemical and optical properties, in an attempt to shed light on factors controlling their levels and variability as well as to discriminate the relevant contribution from long range transport versus local sources, with emphasis on the role of biomass burning. 

Air Sampler
Photo: Giorgos Maneas

An air sampler for collecting samples of aerosol particles for the determination of their chemical properties


Bird watching
Photo: Giorgos Maneas

In the Gialova wetland there are also possibilities to observe birds, including equipment for monitoring and counting, for example binoculars and cameras.


NEO meeting
Photo: Christos Pantazis

NEO gradually bridges the gaps between science, society and policy actors, and creates a platform for discussion and collaboration around the complex challenges of our times, and turns research into actions. For example, under COASTAL EU project – Collaborative Land-Sea Integration platform, NEO works closely with local farmers, fishermen, tourism operators, institutions and policy makers towards co-creating evidence-based business-policy roadmaps for enhancing coastal-rural collaboration and synergies. 


Cafe event
Photo: Giorgos Maneas

Café-NEO’ is an event organized by NEO, in major cities of the Peloponnese, as Kalamata, Patra and Tripoli, where researchers meet and discuss with the local people in an informal and friendly atmosphere, usually at a café or a bar. Here, Dr Evangelos Gerasopoulos, from the National Observatory of Athens, discusses services and the development of smart cities in Kalamata.