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Eastern Mediterranean Biodiversity Panorama (EMBD PANORAMA)
Start date: May 31, 2006, End date: Apr 29, 2008 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Eastern Mediterranean (EMed) biodiversity is threatened by the increased exploitation of the environment. Currently, related knowledge and collections are scattered around the EMed area and northern European institutions. The project EMBD PANORAMA will establish a network of reference for EMed biodiversity where scientists, government officials, students, and potentially anyone may be informed on features, values and needs concerning environmental issues. The network will create an EMed Biodiversity Panorama through digitally augmented exhibitions and web-based information services. The Eastern Mediterranean (EMed) is a hotspot for biodiversity. This was acknowledged even before the last 30 years when local scientists were very few and data were not collected systematically. Today our knowledge on the areas’ biodiversity is increasing quasi exponentially but at the same time biodiversity is decimated due to ignorance and increasing human activities, especially in areas of high diversity allocated for recreation. Moreover, due to a various range of problems, environmental awareness is neither equal among, nor adequate in the countries of the EMed. The project’s scope is to address these problems, primarily by setting the bases for a network, which would serve as a point of reference for EMed biodiversity. The network will have both a physical and an electronic dimension and potential for expansion. The physical element’s base will be the collections (material and digital) and exhibition of the NHMC. Contrary to traditional large museums, local collections, by qualified institutions, will be encouraged and know-how will be provided by the network. A test case on this aspect will be realized through the collaboration with the ESC. All the procedures for this action will be coded to serve as a roadmap for future cases. NHMC will be responsible for coordinating and realizing the part of the project regarding its physical element (i.e. collections, dioramas, informational and educational material) as well as finding, contacting and informing potential collaborators from the EMed. The electronic base of the project will be the outcome of the collaboration between NHMC and FORTH-ICS. The former will provide the material (texts, scenarios, digital material and scientific databases) for the construction of the means to support both the exhibition and the network requirements. FORTH-ICS on the other hand has considerable experience on the development of digitally augmented physical exhibitions, supported concurrently with web-based information provision services and virtual tours, and will provide a platform that extends the possibilities for education, research, training and knowledge dissemination offered by NHMC. ESC will be involved in all stages of the project as to transfer and apply the experience obtained to Cyprus. As a recent member of the EU, Cyprus is on the way to implementing EU legislation and directives concerning protected areas and thus in need for tools for public awareness, such as local collections and exhibitions, education and research. Direct beneficiaries of the project will be all (true and virtual) visitors of the NHMC and hopefully an ever-increasing number of people from EMed countries, either directly through the collaborating institutions or through electronic means. Establishing cooperation on the environment, will bring forth elements that unify our civilizations, positively serving the urgent need for cooperation among the people of the EMed.

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