Lab Coordinator

 Ioannis Vogiatzakis

I am Professor of Environmental Conservation at the Open University of Cyprus (OUC). Before coming to OUC I held positions and developed research and teaching activities at the Universities of Reading (England), Cagliari (Italy) and Ioannina (Greece). I have been a research associate of the CIHEAM- MAICh and consultant for international organizations UNEP PAP / RAC and UNIDO. I hold a doctorate in Physical Geography, MSc in Vegetation Ecology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Academic Practice from the University of Reading, and BSc Forestry degree from the Technological Institute of Education of Kavala, Greece. I am a member of the Royal Geographical Society, the British Ecological Society, the International Association of Landscape Ecology, and the International Association of Vegetation Science. My research interests include the biogeography and landscape processes in Mediterranean islands and mountains, the use of geospatial tools on species, habitats and ecosystem services analysis, landscape ecology and landscape evaluation, and systematic conservation planning. My research has been funded by the EC 6th and 7th FP, H2020, LIFE+, INTERREG, ENPI-CBCMED programmes and Ministries and Government agencies in the UK and Cyprus.

Research Associates

Dr. Vassilis LItskas

My background is Agronomy, Agr. Engineering, Water & Soil Resources Management, Ecology and Environmental Protection. I work as a researcher in the TEM lab at Open Un. Cyprus, in the ERASMUS+ projects EnVeROS & WASEC (2018-2020). My research interests are Env. Footprints, Env. Protection, Water & Soil Res. Mngmt, Climate Change & Agriculture and Ecosystem Services. I have participated in 11 research projects under these topics (2006-today) and I have been involved in the submission of many scientific proposals under these topics. I am a teaching scientist in UOC, Civil&Env Engineering and CUT, Agr. Sci., Biotech. & Food Sci. I also have worked a researcher (2015-2018) at Sust. Agr. Group, Cyprus Un. of Technology (CUT) and NIREAS IWRC (Un of Cyprus, UOC; 2013-2015). I teach Agrometeorology, Hydrology, Ag. Machinery, Env. Impact Assessment, Solid Waste Mngmt and Water Res. Mngmt in undergraduate students.  I have 15 scientific papers with a h-index 7 and >20 presentations in int. conferences

Key publications

​​Litskas, V.D., Migeon, A., Navajas, M., Tixier, M-S., Stavrinides, M.C., 2019. Climate change expected to reduce suitability of land for tomato production and increase mite outbreaks. Env Res Letters, Vol 14, no 8.

Litskas, V.D.; Irakleous, T.; Tzortzakis, N.; Stavrinides, M.C. Determining the carbon footprint of indigenous and introduced grape varieties through Life Cycle Assessment using the island of Cyprus as a case study. Journal of Cleaner Production 2017, 156, 418–425, doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.04.057.

Dr. Paraskevi (Skevi) Manolaki
Dr. Dimitrios Sarris

Skevi holds a Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology (University of Patras, Department of Plant Ecology) entitled “Ecological assessment of Acheron and Louros river, W. Greece and their catchment area using aquatic macrophytes as biological indicators”, and a Bachelor (B.Sc.) in Biology (University of Patras). Her research interests involve freshwater ecology and management including functional aspects of river communities, evaluation of ecological quality, dynamics of aquatic and riparian vegetation, landscape ecology, human activities and change detection analysis, effects of global changes on aquatic ecosystems. She worked as a member of the scientific team of Plant Ecology (Patras University) from 2005-2013 and in 2014, she was awarded a two-year post-doctoral position at the Open University of Cyprus (OUC).  Since 2005 she has participated in 6 research projects where her main research field was the assessment of the ecological quality of freshwater ecosystems as demanded by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). Her research has focused on the development of an evaluation system for the ecological quality of rivers in Mediterranean countries using aquatic macrophytes as Biological Quality Elements. She participated in the Mediterranean Intercalibration Process (2006-2011) for rivers as a macrophyte expert for Cyprus and Greece collaborating with scientists from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. She has also been involved as a macrophytes expert on the determination of the evaluation criteria of the ecological status on temporary salt lakes (Larnaca salt lake complex). She is a co-author of 13 scientific journal articles and she has presented her work at 11 International and 5 National Conferences.  She is currently an AIAS-COFUND (Marie Curie) Postdoctoral Fellow, Aarhus Advanced Institute of Advanced Science, AIAS, Aarhus University, Denmark and her project focuses on the effects of global changes on river ecosystem functioning aiming to understand the underlying mechanisms of multiple stressors applied in rivers, using aquatic plant traits.

Key publications

​​Riis, T., Kelly-Quinn, M., Aguiar, F.C., Manolaki, P., Bruno, D., Bejarano, M.D., Clerici, N., Fernandes, M.R., Franco, J.C., Pettit, N. and Portela, A.P., 2019. Global overview of ecosystem services provided by riparian vegetation. BioScience.

Manolaki, P., Guo, K., Vieira, C., Papastergiadou, E. and Riis, T., 2020. Hydromorphology as a controlling factor of macrophytes assemblage structure and functional traits in the semi-arid European Mediterranean streams. Science of The Total Environment, 703, p.134658.

Dimitrios has 20 published peer-reviewed papers in International Scientific Journals (h-index 12) and chapters with more than 900 citations, accompanied by 33 Scientific Announcements on climate change adaptation of terrestrial ecosystems. He has participated in +20 Research Programs (including FP7 or NSF funded projects) 8 of which as P.I. and 7 as Scientific Coordinator (including the preparation of EC- Horizon 2020 and Prima projects). He is also an Academic Scholar with +15 years research and +10 years of teaching experience in Env. Science having worked as an Academic Coordinator & Master’s Thesis Supervisor at the Env. Conservation and Management Postgraduate Program of the Open University of Cyprus and at the Dept of Biological Sciences of the University of Cyprus, where he is an active researcher. He has supervised more than 35 Thesis. Dr. Sarris, is currently the Coordinator of Env. Management Technicians’ and Organic Farming Vocational Programs at KES College and Director of KES Research Centre.

Key publications

​Sarris D, Christodoulakis D, Körner C (2007). Recent decline in precipitation and tree growth in the eastern Mediterranean. Global Change Biology, 13, 1187–1200.

Príncipe A, Matos P, Sarris D, Gaiola G⁠, Rosário L, Correia O, Branquinho C. In Mediterranean drylands microclimate affects more tree seedlings than adult trees (2020). Ecological Indicators,

Dr. Savvas Zotos

Savvas Zotos is a visiting scholar at the European University of Cyprus and a researcher officer at Terra Cypria – the Cyprus Conservation Foundation, conducting his Post-Doctoral Research on reptiles’ locomotion and behaviour. He holds a B.Sc. (2004) and Ph.D. (2014) in Biology (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) and has been awarded a scholarship for Doctoral (PENEK) and Post-Doctoral Research (DIDACTOR) by the Cyprus Research and Innovation Foundation. His main research interests are in Animal Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation with special focus on reptiles.

Before joining Terra Cypria, he served as a researcher/herpetologist at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science, Cyprus University of Technology (2016-2017), Terrestrial Ecosystems Management Lab, Open University of Cyprus (2014-2016), Nature Conservation Unit, Frederick University (2009-2014). He also collaborated and offered his scientific expertise on monitoring and conservation of flora and fauna to several public authorities including the Department of Environment, the Department of Forest, the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research and Game and Fauna Service. During the years he offered his scientific expertise as a member of the board in a number of environmental Non-Government Organizations (i.e. Cyprus Herpetological Society, Cyprus Federation of Environmental and Ecological Organizations, Friends of the Earth Cyprus) and is the scientific advisor for the development of Cyprus Reptile Park that Cyprus Herpetological Society is constructing at Neo Chorio, Pafos. He is also one of the principal investigators behind the creation of the Cyprus RoadKill Observation System, a citizen science approach that aims to report and analyse the impact of Cyprus Road Network on wild animals. Thus far he has participated in numerous EU funded projects (LIFE, COST, Erasmus), assisting project management, providing scientific expertise and conducting research on animal monitoring and conservation. He has participated and presented his research work in various international scientific conferences concerning zoology, herpetology and animal conservation.

Key publications

Manolaki, P., Zotos, S. & I. N. Vogiatzakis (2020) An integrated ecological and cultural framework for landscape sensitivity assessment in Cyprus, Land Use Policy, p.104336

Zotos, S., F. Baier, D. Sparrow & I. N. Vogiatzakis (2018) A citizen science approach to assess the impact of roads on reptile mortality in Cyprus. Proc. SPIE 10773, Sixth International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of the Environment (RSCy2018). 107730J  p 13

Zotos, S. & I.N. Vogiatzakis (2018) CyROS: towards a common methodological framework for roadkills recording in Cyprus. Ecologia Mediterranea, 44(1), 109 - 114

Elli Tzirkalli

Currently I am working as a researcher in the TEM lab at the OUC, in the project ECOWINERY «Eco-innovation for the production of low environmental footprint wine» (2019-2021). I hold a BSc in Environmental and Natural Resources Management from Ioannina University and an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. My PhD is in the field of Biodiversity Conservation at the Department of Biological Applications & Technology (Biodiversity Conservation Lab), University of Ioannina. I have participated in various research and monitoring programs in Greece and Cyprus concerning flora and fauna protection (2005-present) and I am the co-chair of the Cyprus Butterfly Study Group (2012-present) and a member of the IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist group (2013-present).  My research interest focuses in exploring patterns and drivers of biodiversity, investigating the impacts of climate change on species distribution, community ecology of terrestrial invertebrates (butterflies and grasshoppers), and mountain biodiversity. I have presented my research work at international and national conferences (>10) and in international peer-reviewed journals (10 papers, 2 books, 3 book chapters).  

Key publications

Tzirkalli, E., Kadis, C., Halley, J.M., Vogiatzakis, I., Wilson, R.J., Zografou, K., Antoniou, A., Tsintides, T., Makris, C., Kati, V., 2019. Conservation ecology of butterflies in Cyprus in the context of Natura 2000. Biodiversity and Conservation. 28(7), 1759-1782.

Maes, D., Verovnik, R., Wiemers, M., …, Tzirkalli, E. et al. (2019) Integrating national Red Lists for prioritising conservation actions for European butterflies. Journal of Insect Conservation. 23: 301-330.

Nika Knez

Currently I am working as a research assistant in the TEM lab at the OUC, in a project "LIFE IP Physis - Managing the NATURA 2000 network in Cyprus and Shaping a sustainable future".

I hold a BSc in Geography and Russistics from University of Ljubljana. I wrote a Bachelor thesis entitled "Geographical aspects of decreasing numbers of selected giraffe subspecies". I hold an MSc in Physical & Environmental Geography and Applied Geoinformatics from the University of Ljubljana. I wrote a Master thesis entitled "European bison potential habitat prediction for reintroduction in Slovenia", where I focused on the problematic of species reintroduction and their management. My research interest focuses on biodiversity loss, species reintroduction, wildlife management, habitat prediction and ecosystem services.

PhD Students

Nicolaos Kassinis

I am head of the research and mouflon conservation sector of the Game and Wildlife Service, Cyprus.  I also have duties regarding EU issues including reporting for nature Directives,  implementing LIFE-funded and other EU co-funded conservation projects. I hold a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MSc in Range and wildlife Management. from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, USA. Sectors of specialization: Wildlife Ecology and management, Plant and Soil science, Biometrics.

Further Training

Government of Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Center for International Cooperation. 

Social, Economic and Political Challenges in Nature Conservation (January-February 2002)

Cyprus-America scholarship program

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas.  Reintroduction of Desert Bighorn sheep in its historical habitat of west Texas.

February –March 2003.

My professional and research experience includes: Mouflon population monitoring, Monitoring of breeding raptors, Population counts and trends for game species and common birds, Waterbird counts, Biological rodent control through establishment of a network of nesting boxes for Barn Owls, cooperation with the Veterinary Services for establishing cause of death for wildlife found dead.  

Selected publications:

Several scientific articles and conference papers published (available upon request).

Elena Konstantinou

I work as a Biology teacher in secondary education. I hold an MSc in Environmental Conservation and Management from the Open University of Cyprus and a BSc in Biology from the University of Athens. My MSc thesis was on the interactions of Ziziphus lotus with neighbouring plants and currently continue along the same line studying the ecology and distribution of Ziziphus lotus in Cyprus

Phanis Koumpis

I was born in Athens in 1973 and graduated from the Integrated Comprehensive Lykeion of Athens in 1991. In 1997 I graduated from the Department of Forestry of the Technological Educational Institute of Kavala, where I focused on the exploitation of geoinformatics technologies us a tool in forest management and  wildlife biology. After completing military service in Greek Army Navy in 1999, I worked at Intrasoft S.A. & Intracom S.A. (Athens) in the field of automated cartography/facilities management (AM/FM GIS) of land telecommunication networks. In 2002 I left the private sector and since then I have been working in local government on environmental issues, civil protection, waste management, environmental protection and local development aspects. In 2017 I graduated from the  Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences of the Open University of Cyprus, where I received a postgraduate degree in Environmental Conservation and Management. The subject of my postgraduate dissertation was the spatial analysis of ecosystem services in Cyprus.
My professional interests are environmental and social monitoring and analysis of geographic space utilizing remote sensing data and geoinformatics tools, while at the research level I am interested in the spatial analysis of the relationship between society and the environment with emphasis on the ecological dimension and the two-way flows of cost and benefits between physical and social systems.

Stalo Leontiou

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Sciences from the University of Aegean in 2010. My bachelor thesis was the application of the Optimum Multiparameter Analysis in the Mediterranean Basin. It concerned the estimation of the percentages of the main Mediterranean water masses, contained in a sample of water. Furthermore, using a combination of the Redfield ratios and oxygen utilization rate, I was able to calculate the water masses’ ages under investigation. Part of the results were presented at the CIESM Congress in 2013. I obtained a Master’s degree in Integrated Climate System Sciences from the University of Hamburg in 2013. My research topic was the Integrated Assessment of Enhanced Weathering Geoengineering Technique. It concerned the application of a Carbon Dioxide Removal technology, and particularly the spread of ground mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks over agricultural soils (rainfed or irrigated) and rainforests.
Since September 2017 I am a PhD candidate in the department of Environmental Conservation and Management of the Open University of Cyprus. My research interests include, impacts of climate change on natural ecosystems, enhancement of marine protected areas networks and land-sea-atmosphere interactions.

Sotiroula Ioannidou

PhD topic: Investigation of the interactions of farming practices and agro-ecosystem services, using environmental indicators in conventional and organic deciduous tree crops systems

Research interests:

  • Investigation and evaluation of phenological, morphological and productive characteristics in deciduous fruit trees.

  • Modern farming systems and agricultural practices for deciduous fruit trees.

  • Rating Cherry varieties (Prunus avium L.)

  • Ex situ evaluation of local clones of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.)

  • Integrated Fruit Production-Sustainable Arboriculture.

Athina Papatheodoulou

PhD topic: Ecology of intermittent rivers in Cyprus


I have completed my degree in Biology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and my Master in Water and Environmental Management at the University of Brighton. I work as Ecologist at I.A.CO Environmental and Water Consultants Ltd. My research interests falls in the fields of monitoring and assessment of aquatic ecosystems, with the use of bio-indicators. I have been involved in the development of the Landscape Character Assessment map of Cyprus and the national inventory of the wetlands of the island. I am also very keen in studying and mapping flora and habitats and teaching non-conventional, outdoor environmental education.vices, using environmental indicators in conventional and organic deciduous tree crops systems

Athanasia Mandoulaki

I am an Agronomist by training. I have completed my Degree (B.Sc) in the Department of Plant Protection at the School of Agriculture of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. I hold a Master of Science Degree on Ecology, Management and Conservation of Natural Environment of the Department of Biology, University of Patras. Currently, I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science in Cyprus University of Technology. The last five years, I have been involved in three EC funded projects, a) the FP7 CO-FREE (, b) the LIFE+ CONOPS ( and c) the AgroLIFE ( projects that were focused on a) the development of novel alternative compounds and innovative methods to control plant diseases and b) the development of integrated management plans for the effective and environmental friendly control of the invasive mosquito species spread and establishment across Europe and c) the promotion, protection and enhancement of biodiversity in High Nature Value farmlands (vineyards and carob groves) in Cyprus. I have gained experience on the Mediterranean vineyard agro-ecosystems, on the protection of grapevines from fungal pathogens and harmful insects and on the development of strategies of low input and organic farming focused on the protection of environment and the biodiversity conservation. In addition, I have also gained knowledge on issues related to invasive mosquito species in Europe and Greece due to climate change, the evaluation of the efficacy of new natural repellents and on public health issues related to diseases transmitted by these vectors. My research interests include the study of agro-ecosystems and biodiversity focusing mainly on Mediterranean High Nature Value farmlands (HNVf) and their relevant ecological and management features, sustainable crop protection, and the development of strategies for low input and organic farming.

For further information on the Lab's research activities, opportunities and placements drop us a line.

Contact us!

​telephone : ​+357 22411933

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