Research

A genetic technology that will reveal the true biodiversity of the Caucasus

With modern genetic sequencing techniques, DNA barcoding has the potential to dramatically accelerate the inventory of biodiversity on Earth, providing a basis for global conservation monitoring. Just like we began to record weather in the 19th century, which now provides the information that allows us to recognize the climate crisis and make predictions for the future, DNA barcoding provides similar opportunities for biodiversity.

An office without walls

Nature conservation is not a nine-to-five job. Nature provides us with endless questions to answer if we are curious enough. With over 20 years of experience in bird watching, bird research, nature conservation and nature education both in Turkey and abroad, Lale Aktay and Özgün Süzüer have seen and experienced many sides of nature conservation, and we are eager to find out what drives them. We talked about research and on-site conservation of birds, the importance of knowledge transfer, building a network and being a role model for youth. Moreover, we heard about a successful initiative combining cycling with nature observation and got a glimpse into the field of ethno-ornithology.

The intricate web of nature protection in Hatay

As we approached the province of Hatay, we had no idea yet how intricate and strong the nature protection community really is here. But soon enough, we found out that like the underground network of trees in a forest, the protectors of Hatay developed a unique and diverse network, consisting of academicians, conservationists, media personnel and nature enthusiasts, working as coordinated as we have not seen before.

And what are they protecting? Taking up only 0.7% of Turkey, Hatay hosts 60% of all of the country’s mammal species. Moreover, it is a major bottleneck for migratory birds and hosts some of Turkey’s most important wetlands belonging to the Asi river basin.

One world, one water and one chance to safeguard it

The Black Sea is one of the world’s most isolated seas, and the largest anoxic body of water on the planet (87% of its volume is anoxic). It has also been called Europe’s most polluted sea. In Trabzon along the Turkish Black Sea coast, we sat down with researchers Dr. Muzaffer Feyzioğlu and Dr. Coşkun Erüz from the Karadeniz Technical University to discuss the state of marine conservation, microplastics and people’s attitudes towards marine litter.

Traditional ecological knowledge: our heritage and our survival strategy

Ceren Kazancı and Soner Oruç are ethnobiologists, studying traditional ecological knowledge in the Western Lesser Caucasus at the Turkish-Georgian border region, one of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots of the world. Like other ethnobiologists, they recognize that indigenous peoples, traditional societies, and local communities are critical not only to the conservation of cultural and linguistic diversity, but also biological diversity.

If you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it!

The Dobrogea region in southeastern Romania is part of the Eurasian-East African Flyway, one of the important migration corridors for birds that follows the western coast of the Black Sea. To learn more about conservation in this region, we headed to the Black sea coast to visit the Agigea Ornithological Observatory, as it is the first and only permanent ringing and bird migration research station in Romania. But why are birds even ringed, how do you ring them and what are the challenges? Let´s find out!