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Field Sessions

FS1: Ecotourism: a trap or a chance for sustainable development? (2h)
Vassiliki Kati, University of Ioannina, Greece

This field session will be held along an ecotouristic path of Papingo (40min walk) and will end up in the ecotouristic center of WWF, where the natural beauties of Zagori area and local culture are exhibited. The session will present the types of ecotouristic activities the criteria that should be met for tourism in nature and the concept of carrying capacity. Students will critically evaluate different paradigms of tourism and their impact on environment, taking as a case study the area of Zagori. No special equipment needed.

FS2: Amphibian monitoring: the endangered yellow bellied toad (6h)
Martin Dieterich, University of Hohenheim, Germany

In this session the students will work in groups of four, collecting yellow bellied toads (Bombina variegata) in a stream near Papingo (Rogovo pools) for a predefined distance along the stream (4h). For each individual collected, they will determine its sex, size and belly pattern, by taking a picture of the belly. They will visit the same site after three days and repeat sampling (2h). Sampling will include temperature range measurement in pools. They will be familiarized with the mark-recapture methodology, using the colorful pictures of the belly that are unique per individual and they will assess the species’ population size. They will proceed in short term analysis of the movement patters (sex specific, age specific). IP equipment: boots (5), nets (2), buckets (4), printer for colorful pictures (1), GPS (2), software to identify belly patterns (optional), aerial photographs (optional). Student equipment: digital photo cameras.

FS3: Sampling riparian and freshwater biodiversity (8h)
A. Chiarucci (plants), P. Dimopoulos (vegetation, plants), M. Dieterich (freshwater invertebrates, amphibians), V. Kati (grasshoppers, birds, reptiles, bats), A. Ramsey (butterflies, freshwater biota), G. Lövei (arthropods)

This session will introduce students to a range of different field sampling techniques along Voidomatis River. Students will work in groups of three. Underlined instructors are the responsible for the sub session.
  • (a) Birds, by V. Kati, G. Lövei (2h)
    The first part of the session focuses on small terrestrial bird sampling. The instructor will present the bird census methods for small terrestrial birds, the types of songs and calls of passerines and they will introduce students to their breeding ecology. Students will have to conduct acoustic sampling at early morning hours, filling a standard worksheet and recording the species richness of bird community in different sampling points along the river.
  • (b)Vegetation, by P. Dimopoulos, A. Chiarucci (2h)
    The second part of the session focuses on the riparian vegetation, on the species richness of woody plants and on the vegetation vertical structural complexity. The vegetation zonation from the river banks to the terrestrial vegetation units will be examined in relation to the changing ecological factors (ecological gradient). Students will have to conduct quadrat sampling for vegetation, filling a standard field protocol in different habitats along the river and vertically to the river to detect the species composition changes with the vegetation zone changes.
  • (c) Stream morphology and macrozoobenthos, by M. Dieterich, & invited Greek expert (3h)
    Following the Water Directive, this third part of the session will survey stream morphology and water quality (macrozoobenthos). Students will assess and evaluate according to a standard scheme stream bed, stream banks and the riparian zone. They will also apply the standard technique for macrozoobenthos sampling in different microhabitats; they will sort and determine animals in the sample at family level. Specimen will be collected in vials for reference collection, in order to be determined using a stereoscope in the lab at afternoon. An invited expert on greek zoobenthos will contribute to in situ specimen identification.
  • (d) Other diversity, by V. Kati, A. Ramsey, G. Lovei (1h)
    Students will observe and record flora and fauna species along the path, such as butterflies, grasshoppers, lizards, mammal traces, plants etc.

IP equipment: boots (3), magnifiers, identification key for macroinvertebrates (3), net for macrobenthos sampling (1), trays (4), forcepts (5), screen sieves (1), vials for reference collection (30), stereoscopes (3), key for woody plant species, Student equipment: binoculars, bird guide, other field guides. Output: students will work in the evening in class, and they should deliver their filled worksheet and a report of the field session with four parts

FS4: Bird monitoring: ringing small terrestrial birds (4h)
Gabor Lövei, University of Aarhus, Denmark & invited Greek expert

This session will familiarize students with the method of capturing small terrestrial birds through mist-netting and with ringing procedure. An invited ornithologist with official ringing license for Greece will be invited. Ringing is the basic conservation tool to understand bird migration ecology.

FS5: Inventorying mountain biodiversity (16h)
A. Chiarucci (plants), P. Dimopoulos (vegetation, plants), V. Kati (grasshoppers, birds, reptiles, chamois), A. Ramsey (butterflies, reptiles), G. Lövei (terrestrial invertebrates, birds) M. Dieterich (amphibians), J. Halley.

Mountains of the world are hotspots of biological diversity. The compression of thermal life zones and the fragmentation of the landscape into a multitude of microhabitats, each inhabited by a suite of specialists, create this extremely high diversity. In this field session, students and instructors will walk the first day from Papingo (1000m) to the refugee place (2000m) in the core area of N. Pindos National Park, a roadless area of great naturalness. Students will initiate to mountaineering, but also to the mountain wildlife. They will observe nature along an elevation gradient, walking through abandoned agricultural land, oak woods, old Juniperus foeditissima forests, montane pastures above the timberline and calcareous screes. They will record amphibian life in the mountain marsh of Rizina and in the famous Dragon Lake, a mountainous Lake at 2000m altitude. Instructors will talk for the succession of vegetation zones, endemism of plants and animals in the high altitudes, but also to the natural resources management, such as grazing and water use. The class will overnight in the refugee. The next day, students will count chamois with the help of a telescope and they will be familiarized with the breeding ecology, biology and ethology of this threatened ungulate in Greece. The class will inventory alpine species diversity also in the way back to Papingo, such as birds, plants, raptors, butterflies, grasshoppers, amphibians, reptiles etc. The session focuses especially on the floristic census of the above the timberline grasslands, of the calcareous screes following well established sampling techniques (plot sampling with different cover-abundance scales depending on the scope of data collection), of the Juniperus foetidissima woodlands, of the calcareous screes in order to find out the differences in the sampling methods, as well on the total species richness, the endemic species richness as well as in the ecological determinants in each case.
IP equipment: Telescope, tripod. Student equipment: binoculars, field guides, clothing for mountaineering.

FS6: Radio tracking (4h)
Andrew Ramsey, University of Cumbria, UK

This practical session will look at the theory and practice of radio telemetry. Students will be introduced to a range of telemetry equipment for monitoring species ranging from squirrels to brown bears. Students will take part in a radio telemetry exercise to locate radio collared individuals in the surrounding habitat. Some satellite telemetry data will also be supplied and the advantages and disadvantages of radio telemetry versus satellite telemetry will be discussed. IP equipment: radio telemetry collars




Important Dates

  •     09 January 2012: Registration opens
  •     15 March 2012: Registration closes
  •     15 April 2012: Announcement of participants
  •     24 June 2012: Arrival in Ioannina
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