Backround: Paralimni lake is a seasonal, slightly brackish lake, enclosed in a triangle formed by the villages of Paralimni, Dherynia and Sotira. The main sources of water inflows for the lake, are precipitation and urban runoff from the nearby villages. In the past decades, due to the inexistence of proper management for the lake, the usual practice for water inflows was their direct removal by canals that led water to a main outsource, artificial canal. As a consequence, the lake was dry most of the year and trespassing was becoming more of a threat for the ecosystem integrity. The habitats, and especially aquatic habitats were severly threatened by complete drainage and the lake was gradually transforming to a semi-arid land.
In 2009 Paralimni lake was included in the NATURA 2000 network as an area of Special Community interest (SCI) under Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC and but also as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive 79/409/EEC. This was mainly due to the threats opposed for the endemic Cyprus Grass snake Natrix natrix cypriaca (and it’s habitat), of which the most abundant and important population was recorded in Paralimni lake, but also for the numerous migrating and nesting birds listed on Annex I of Council Directive 79/409/EEC, such as Vanellus spinosus. Moreover, Paralimni lake is one of the few natural lakes that can be found in the island of Cyprus. Still no intention has been given to the aquatic components of the lake which comprise the foodweb basis of the lake’s populations and sustain the abovementioned important species.
Since the declaration of the lake as a NATURA 2000 site, water management measures have been taken with the restriction of water outflow from the lake. This has led to a positive transformation of the area, with water sustaining for many months in the boundaries of the lake and aquatic and hydrophilic features making their reappearance.
Aim: The investigation of the Aquatic Biotic Components of Paralimni lake. Main target groups are aquatic Macrophytes, Aquatic Invertebrates and Fish. The recording of these aquatic biotic groups will be a key component for the understanding of the biological processes taking place in the lake and help managers to take the appropriate measures in order to improve the degraded ecosystem of Paralimni lake as well as the populations of important species.
Methods: Selected samplings during the wet period, using the appropriate qualitative and quantitative sampling methods, in order to record and study all aquatic groups that are met in Paralimni lake. Investigative samplings will be followed by surveillance monitoring to increase accuracy and effectiveness.