10/05/2010

The World of Turtles awards the lifetime achievement of Dimitris Margaritoulis

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The International Sea Turtle Society organizes the Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation at a different location every year. This year's symposium, titled “The World of Turtles” took place from April 24 to 30 in Goa, India, with 450 participants from 60 countries.

ARCHELON is a member of the International Sea Turtle Society and has a significant presence every year, while in 2006 it organized the symposium in Agia Pelagia of Crete. Once again, ARCHELON was present with the participation of eight of its members and colleagues, and the presentation of research with three oral presentations and three posters.

The culmination of the symposium for ARCHELON's team came at the farewell banquet, with the announcement that the lifetime achievement award is given to Dimitris Margaritoulis. During the award ceremony, special reference was made to his long-term work, which brought sea turtles of the Mediterranean Sea at the forefront of the world's scientific community, and to his support to programmes for the study and protection of sea turtles in many countries of the region.

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Aliki Panagopoulou, ARCHELON's projects coordinator, presented Dimitris Margaritoulis with a story of all she has learned from him and of the fact that after fifteen years of experience she continues to be inspired by his vision and his collaborative character. She also talked of the close friendship and collaboration between members of programmes in the Mediterranean Sea, who at the time had formed their own Mediterranean basin amongst the crowded venue and cheered for the awarding of the man that has brought them close.

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ARCHELON indeed continues to be one of the largest globally organizations in the number of volunteers that participate in its projects for the protection of loggerhead sea turtles in Greece. It also conducts and participates in scientific research which is important for the conservation of sea turtles in the Mediterranean Sea and for increasing knowledge of their biology. During each symposium we have the pleasant opportunity to meet volunteers of ARCHELON from previous years, who have continued working for the study and protection of sea turtles in other countries and organizations, or have started their own innovative projects.

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This symposium was characterized by an significant participation of researchers from the region of South Asia and the Indian Ocean, and the focus on projects that deal with resolving social and financial problems faced by residents of isolated coastal areas and artisan fishermen, whose collaboration is valuable for the conservation of sea turtles.

To mark the end of the symposium, the president of ISTS Kartik Shanker passed the baton to the president-elect Jeffrey Seminoff, who will organize the symposium in San Diego, California, in April 2011. Nikos Vallianos, Aberdeen, UK

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