Martha Charitonidou

I was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. I studied Geography at the University of the Aegean. On my second year of BSc. studies, I crashed on my first Ecology course, and fell in love with it. Its fieldwork was the spark to light up my first research interest in rare and threatened species of Greek Flora, leading to my diploma dissertation. In 2011 I graduated with hons, and started my first MSc. degree on Geography & Applied Geoinformatics in Environmental Risk Management (Department of Geography). My love for plants got even bigger during my MSc. thesis, which focused on the intrinsic and environmental factors that affect the rare and threatened plants of Greece, under the supervision of my ever since academic lifetime mentor, Prof. Theodora Petanidou at the Laboratory of Biogeography & Ecology. In 2016 I acquired my second MSc. course, on Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Exploitation of Native Plants (BNP). My thesis focused on the differentiation of Himantoglossum sensu stricto species, by means of genetic markers, while I also worked on the genetic variation of Epipactis atrorubens in Greece, as an internship project.

I was particularly interested in the fascinating world of orchids, ever since my first Ecology class' fieldtrip. During my second MSc., I had the opportunity to study them on a genetic aspect. But the "real thing" started in 2016; since then, I am a PhD. student at the Laboratory of Ecology - EcoLab BET (Dept. of Biological Applications & Technology, University of Ioannina) focusing on the population dynamics of two Ophrys species in NW Greece, under the supervision of Prof. John M. Halley. My PhD. project is funded by the General Secretariat of Research and Technology (GSRT), and the Hellenic Foundation for Research & Innovation (HFRI). I am also working as a junior researcher, on a research program regarding the effects of collection pressure on orchids collected for salep in Northwestern Greece, co-financed by the Operational Program “Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning”, the European Union (European Social Fund), and Greek National Funds.

Among others, I'm highly interested in Population & Spatial Ecology of plants (mainly orchids), Conservation Biology, as well as Ethnobotany and Plant Illegal Trade. I am a member of the Hellenic Ecological Society (HELECOS), the Hellenic Botanical Society (HBS), Society of Conservation Biology (SCB), and member of the IUCN Orchid Specialist Group - Global Trade Programme.

I’m a hopeless orchid lover, who lives by seeking umamis around the world, and rates cities by their coffee shops. I adore Oxford commas, winter sunsets and rain, while I strongly believe that science would be a better place if we all act in unity.


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Martha Charitonidou