In July 2017 , the 4th Summer School, a ten-day excursion to the island, was organized by the Institute of Social Ecology (Vienna), in collaboration with the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (Athens). The aim was to learn and apply social ecology and aquatic ecology approaches while supporting current research and building synergy with a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve process. The course gave students the opportunity to engage in a real-life project and utilize their scientific training to support the process further, gather missing information in fieldwork and contribute to a science plan for further research that would also meet local interests. This provided students with the experience of participating in a transdisciplinary research process, being exposed to a search for solutions for sustainability and development challenges, and learning to interact with stakeholders in a culturally challenging environment. The course concluded with a reflection on the experiences and written student reports on the results of their specific research.
The following modules were performed:
1. Tree sampling: Tree sampling is a useful tool, on the one hand to reconstruct forest structure as a “mirror” of past land use practices, and second, to identify critical priority areas that require immediate protection and may guide forest regeneration projects. The plan covered selected old-growth oak forests in the mountains.
2. Island social metabolism: Exploring the current social metabolism of the island in terms of material and energy flow analysis by field observation and expert interviews. Structural legal and statistical analysis and stakeholder interviews.
3. Ecology and taxonomy of aquatic insects: Ecology and taxonomy, including systematics and information about the importance of larvae’s behavior in ecological studies and biological monitoring of water quality. Insects were collected from different stream habitats. Identifications were performed in the “lab” at genus level for mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), and caddisflies (Trichoptera), and at family level for all other macroinvertebrates.