Greece’s Marine Wildlife: Sea Urchins

In the Mediterranean Sea, there is a wide variety of marine wildlife. However, one does not require to go deep within the depths of the sea to witness a stunning ecosystem. Some of it can be seen on Greece’s beaches. While swimming at the one of the many beaches in Afiartis, Karpathos, I came across one example of a beautifully unique marine creature, the sea urchin.

Sea urchins I found in Afiartis, Karpathos

Sea urchins I found in Afiartis, Karpathos

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Greece’s Natural Beauty: Pumice Stone

While still vacationing in Karpathos, Greece, I frequently visit and swim at the beaches. There are many beautiful qualities found on these beaches, too many to name, however one of its striking features is its geological landscape. The rock formations throughout the years have built incredible cliffs and caves. There are also several beaches in which seashells are embedded into rock. In addition to these special rock formations, another interesting geological find common to Greek beaches is pumice. Almost every visit to Greece, I have managed to find this light-colored, porous rock at the beach. But exactly how is it made and where does it come from?

Pumice

Pumice

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Greece’s Natural Beauty: Thyme and its Medicinal Benefits

For the past couple of weeks, I have been on the island of Karpathos, Greece, visiting family. In the cool mornings on the countryside of Afiartis, I like to go jogging. While jogging, I see bushes of purple plants lining the dirt roads and far up on the hills. These bushes contain the thyme herb that grows so commonly in Greece, as well as in the rest of the Mediterranean. This plant can grow as either bushes that do not exceed 50 cm, or as creeping plants with rooting twigs. While bending down to pick up a couple of its flowers, I can smell its strong aromatic fragrance. This aroma is a result of the many glandular hairs found throughout the plant. Whenever these hairs are broken, as when they are plucked by a passersby, the aromatic smell is released. Additionally, this production of essential oils proves to be an adaptive advantage, because the plant can lack water in its dry environment. When these essential oils evaporate, they surround the plant, creating a saturated environment, which decreases water loss.  Continue reading