Approximately a fifth of the European species is currently at risk of extinction. Constantina is in the voted Council of the ERGA initiative (European Reference Genome Atlas) project that aims to change these mounting numbers. ERGA’s goal is to generate reference-quality, complete and error-free genome assemblies for species across the whole of European biodiversity, which includes at least 200,000 species of higher organisms (Formenti....Theofanopoulou et al. 2022 Trends in Ecology and Evolution). ERGA proponents strongly support that the European Commission should include genomic projects in their efforts for biodiversity conservation and restoration, something that is currently missing from the EU’s major actions (the European Green Deal and the European Biodiversity Strategy for 2030). As a response, a position paper written and signed by members of ERGA was presented to the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.
In this context, Constantina is co-leading (with Dr. Tereza Manousaki) the Greek effort for ERGA. She is focusing on detecting high quality samples of species found in Greece by coordinating with several universities, institutes and organizations. She is also coordinating the effort of creating a comprehensive list of the vertebrate species that are endemic to Greece. Such list is currently missing, something that impedes decisions on restoration and conservation projects. Constantina aims to analyze in detail which Greek species are under extinction, endangered, threatened or vulnerable (IUCN Red List) in order to prioritize their genome sequencing.