Scientific research


ARCTUROS is the only organisation in Greece who has been engaged for over 15 years with the scientific study of the brown bear. The experience and expertise gained by the researchers is invaluable for the protection and management of this endangered species. When ARCTUROS started its research, it was largely based on "traditional" methods of data collection. These included identifying the presence, biology and ecology of bears in an area through the use of questionnaires and indications of bear presence such as traces, feces, tree marks, overturned stones, etc. Today, researchers at ARCTUROS use other brown bear study methods. The most important are the following:


The genetic material (DNA) of each animal, just like a human’s fingerprint, is unique and can be used for identification of individuals within a population. Detailed examination of an animal's genome can give information on the species to which it belongs, the relationship between a population of individuals, relationships between different populations, and even the state of its health.

Cells found in the roots of bear hair contain enough DNA for genetic analysis, and processing of the genetic material of the brown bear shows great promise for helping to understand its behaviour and its link to human ecology. In 2003, ARCTUROS launched the first genetic study of its kind in Greece, to assess the small population of brown bears in Greece. This research, which is now included in the 'Register of brown bears in Greece” was supported by Vodafone, the Forestry Department of the Ministry for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, and other research institutions from Canada and Slovakia. It has already borne fruit - so far they have identified and systematically monitored 250 bears in Greece!

The collaboration between Vodafone and ARCTUROS will continue, in order to expand the existing programme in the study of movement patterns of small and large carnivores, and also to create a Wildlife Accident Database on the roads of our country.

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The behaviour of the bear was one of the initial fundamentals of the scientific research of ARCTUROS. The behaviour of the species has been studied by the method of telemetry, in different regions of our country: Grammo, the Rhodope Mountains and the region of Grevena.

Telemetry is one of the most widely used animal study methods, in which a transmitter mounted on the animal, provides information about its location. This enables biologists to study its behaviour in relation to the geographical space and time. The evolution of technology has now advanced so much that the traditional radio-collars of the past, which only gave an approximate position, have now been replaced by maximum precision collars. The new collars use GPS satellites to calculate the position of an animal, and send this information via the mobile phone network, directly to a researcher’s computer. The animal positions are all logged and mapped and these maps are studied in order to better protect the species.

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Automatic motion capture systems (e.g. automatic, infrared cameras and video cameras) can generally provide information about the variety of species in a study area, as well as on the use of their habitat, their movement patterns, physical condition and relative density.

<For species with characteristic facial features, like most cats, they can generate population estimates. Although most bear species do not possess special facial features to facilitate the identification of individuals, the automatic motion capture systems have still been used in many parts of the world to study them. In Greece, ARCTUROS has used such systems for the study of bears in the Pindos and the Rhodopes Mountains.

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The scientific team of ARCTUROS has published a significant number of articles in international scientific journals utilizing its long research experience in the protection and management of wild mammals in Greece.

You can find all the publications in the list below:

Karamanlidis AA, Czarnomska SD, Kopatz A, Georgiadis L, Jedrzejewska B. (2016)
Wolf population genetics at the south-eastern edge of their European range.
Mammalian Biology 81,506-510.

Bautista, C., Naves, J., Revilla, E., Fernández, N., Albrecht, J., Scharf, A. K., Rigg, R., Karamanlidis, A.A., Jerina, K., Huber, D., Palazón, S., Kont, R., Ciucci, P., Groff, C., Dutsov, A., Seijas, J., Quenette, P-I., Olszanska, A., Shkvyria, M., Adamec, M., Ozolins, J., Jonozovic, M., Selva, N. (2016).
Patterns and correlates of claims for brown bear damage on a continental scale.
Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12708 

Ivanov G, Karamanlidis AA, Stojanov A, Melovski D, Avukatov V. (2016)
The re-establishment of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) in FYR Macedonia: Implications for conservation.
Mammalian Biology. 81,326-330.

40- Karamanlidis AA, de Gabriel Hernando M, Georgiadis L, Kusak J. (2016)
Activity, movement, home range and habitat use of an adult gray wolf in a Mediterranean landscape in northern Greece.
Mammalia. DOI: 10.15.15/mammalia-2015-0091.

Ćirovic D, de Gabriel Hernando M, Paunovic M, Karamanlidis AA (2015)
Home range, movements, and activity patterns of a brown bear in Serbia.
Ursus. 26(2),1-7.

Stronen AV, Jędrzejewska B, Pertoldi C, Demontis D, Randi E, Niedziałkowska M, Borowik T, Sidorovich VE, Kusak J, Kojola I, Karamanlidis AA, Ozolins J, Dumenko V, Czarnomska SD (2015)
Genome-wide analyses suggest parallel selection for universal traits may eclipse local environmental selection in a highly mobile carnivore.
Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1695

Beecham JJ, de Gabriel Hernando M, Karamanlidis AA, Beausoleil RA, Burguess K, Jeong D-H, Binks M, Bereczky L, Ashraf NVK, Skripova K, Rhodin L, Auger J, Lee B-K (2015)
Management implications for releasing orphaned, captive-reared bears back to the wild.
Journal of Wildlife Management. 79(8): 1327-1336. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.941

Karamanlidis AA, Beecham JJ, Chatziioannou C, de Gabriel Hernando M, Grivas K, Krambokoukis L, Papakostas G (2015)
Intraspecific predation on a subadult brown bear in Greece.
Ursus. 26(1):7-10

Karamanlidis AA, de Gabriel Hernando M, Krambokoukis L, Gimenez O (2015)
Evidence of a large carnivore population recovery: Counting bears in Greece.
Journal for Nature Conservation. 27,10-17 30-

Karamanlidis AA, Paunovic M, Ćirovic D, Karapandža B, Skrbinšek T, Zedrosser A (2014)
Population genetic parameters of brown bears in Serbia: implications for research and conservation.
Ursus. 25(1),34-43.

Karamanlidis AA, Pllaha S, Krambokoukis L, Shore K, Zedrosser A (2014)
Preliminary brown bear survey in southeastern Albania.
Ursus. 25(1),1-7.

Karamanlidis AA, Stojanov A, de Gabriel Hernando M, Ivanov G, Kocijan I, Melovski D, Skrbinšek T, Zedrosser A (2014)
Distribution and genetic status of brown bears in FYR Macedonia: implications for conservation.
Acta Theriologica, 59:119-128.

Stronen AV, Czarnomska S, Niedziałkowska M, Jędrzejewski W, Pertoldi C, Pilot M, Randi E, Demontis D, Kojola I, Shkvyrya M, Tsingarska E, Karamanlidis AA, Kusak J, Jędrzejewska B (2013)
North-south differentiation and a region of high diversity in European wolves (Canis lupus).
PlosOne, 8,e76454.

Karamanlidis AA, Hornigold K, Krambokoukis L, Papakostas G, Stefanidis K, Quaglietta L (2013)
Occurrence, food habits and activity patterns of Eurasian otters Lutra lutra in northwestern Greece: implications for research and conservation.
Mammalia, 78(2),239-243.

Karamanlidis AA, Straka M, Drosopoulou E, de Gabriel Hernando M, Kocijan I, Paule L, Scouras Z (2012)
Genetic diversity, structure and size of an endangered brown bear population threatened by highway construction in the Pindos Mountains, Greece.
European Journal of Wildlife Research, 58,511-522.

Karamanlidis AA, Sanopoulos A, Georgiadis L, Zedrosser A (2011)
Structural and economic aspects of human-bear conflicts in Greece.
Ursus, 22,141-151.

Karamanlidis AA, Drosopoulou E, de Gabriel Hernando M, Georgiadis L, Krambokoukis L, Plaha S, Zedrosser A, Scouras Z (2010)
Non-invasive studies of brown bears using power poles.
European Journal of Wildlife Research, 56,693-702.

Karamanlidis AA, Youlatos D, Sgardelis S, Scouras Z (2007)
Using sign at power poles to document presence of bears in Greece.
Ursus, 18,54-61.

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