The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (H.C.M.R.) is a Governmental Research Organisation operating under the supervision of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. It is a Public Institution (Body Governed by Public Law) and was established by the consolidation of the National Center for Marine Research (NCMR) and the Institute of Marine Biology of Crete (IMBC) in 2003, by the Law 2919 / 25.6.2001 “Connection of Research and Technology with Production”.
H.C.M.R. is the largest Marine Research Centre in Greece and comprises of three Research Institutes: the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC), the Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters (IMBRIW) and the Institute of Oceanography (IO). The Centre has modern well-equipped facilities including 3 research vessels (62 m RV Aegaeo and 26 m Philia and 10 m Alkyon), a manned submarine and several remotely operated vehicles for submarine activities. It also has two public aquariums on the islands of Crete (the Cretaquarium now named “Thalassocosmos”) and Rhodes. It also has an underwater technology park in Kato Gouves-Heraklion, Crete.
H.C.M.R. aims to carry out scientific and technological research and experimental development, dissemination and implementation of produced results, especially in the fields of study and protection of the hydrosphere, its organisms, its interface with the atmosphere, the coast and the sea bottom, the physical, chemical, biological and geological conditions that prevail and regulate the above mentioned systems with:
- the production of products and provision of services.
- the support of decision-making concerning the general public, the economy and culture.
- their economical exploitation either by the HCMR and/or by its employees or by third parties.
In order to achieve its goals, H.C.M.R.:
1) Designs and implements scientific and technological projects and processes relevant research studies.
2) Promotes the development of relationships and partnerships with international organizations, Higher Education Institutions and relevant national and international research institutes as well as legal and natural persons.
3) Promotes scientific expertise in the aforementioned fields.
4) Contribute to education, information, dissemination and general knowledge of the public.
5) Provides scientific and technological information through the appropriate site.
6) Provides products and services related to his research interests.
7) Represents Greece in International Organizations with relevant actions.
The Centre has been extremely active in all the EU framework programmes, involved in numerous international projects as coordinator or a partner (eg. Η2020, FP7, CLAIM, PERSEUS, TAPAS, DIVERSIFY, KBBE, ENV, OCEANS, QoL, MAST, FAIR, AIR, LIFE, Interreg, MAREFISH etc.) and has regular exchange of personnel and students with well known research institutes in Europe.
In the VIOAKSIOPIO project participate two of the three Institutes: IMBBC (who is also the Project Coordinator) and IMBRIW.
The Coordinator of VIOAKSIOPIO is IMBBC which has as its scientific object research and technological development, which mainly refers to biodiversity, structure and dynamics of the ecosystem, management of ecosystems, the genetics of marine organisms, the search for new or improved products and organisms, and certification of the authenticity and origin of organisms and products. The laboratories have been certified and have obtained codes for experimental breeding and experimentation (EL 91-BIO-03, EL 91-BIO04). The facilities in Attica include specialized laboratories for nutrition, quality of fish and fish ichthyopathology, which have high technology equipment.
The IMBBC and the Laboratory for Nutrition and Omic Technologies of Dr. Yannis Kotzamanis (Scientific Coordinator and Project Coordinator) focus on the assessment of the nutritional value of raw materials for fish feed of European sea bream and sea bass, as well as research of appropriate fish feeds for new farmed fish species for the Greek fish farming. In particular, the Laboratory’s research focuses on the exploitation of discards and by-products of processing for fish fillets, the development of economical and innovative feeds to replace live feed from artificial in the early larval stages of farmed fish, research for the replacement of fishmeal and fish oil from alternative sources of protein and oil of vegetable or animal origin, particularly in feeds of sea bream and sea bass, as well as in the determination of their dietary requirements. In recent years, it has been studied the effect of different levels of hydrolysed protein derived from fish or filleting by-products on the growth and health of sea bream and sea bass. Routine tools for studying fish nutrition and growth physiology include biochemical analyses, digestive enzyme measurements and histological observations. Recently, the focus has been on the application of proteomic techniques to the development, health and quality of farmed fish by studying proteins (eg myosin, tropomyosin, HSP), their interaction, interactions and their changes from external factors (environment-nutrition) at the cell, organ and organism level in general. Proteomics can provide answers about the situation of the farmed fish. To study the identification, action and differentiation of proteins in fish, there is an organized proteomics technology laboratory equipped with 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry instruments like MALDI and ESI MS/MS -Q-Tof Premier for analysis of protein profiles and metabolites in fish.
The IMBRIW focuses its activities on fisheries and inland waters and is a leader in these sectors in Greece with significant activity in the wider Mediterranean region as well as in Europe in general. During the last external evaluation it received the title of the Center for Excellence of Fisheries, Coastal Zone and Inland Water Management. It maintains excellent contacts with the fishing industry and has daily contact with fishermen in the context of fisheries monitoring. In addition, it provides training courses for several groups of fishermen and advice on improving gear efficiency, selectivity of gear and solving conflicts between different fisheries sectors. It has carried out many studies dealing with the economic performance of the fishing fleet and the socio-economic situation of the fishing industry. The IMBRIW is a key contributor to fisheries research in the Mediterranean as it participates in the European Fisheries Platform as well as in the major network projects ERANET Marifish, EUROCEAN and COFASP and has an active role and a leading role in International Organizations dealing with the management of marine biological resources. Scientists at the Institute are pioneering the development of tools for assessing the quality of river and wetland ecosystems and are involved in pan-European initiatives and research projects aimed at developing ecological assessment methodologies and good environmental management and remediation practices.