in 2024 we will offer the following destinations for the MEES.C5 excursions! If you are interested in participating, please contact the responsible persons (see below) as soon as possible (see registration deadlines).
Ecology and diversity of Mediterranean ecosystems (Southern France; Provence, Côte-d‘Azur)
Lake Trasimeno is located in the Umbria region west of Perugia and is surrounded by mountains up to 600 metres high. The lake’s surroundings are characterised by a variety of different habitats, such as reedy shore regions, extensively used olive groves and meadows, macchie and forest with small streams that often dry up in summer. These habitats have a very species-rich arthropod fauna.
During the excursion we visited habitats directly around Lake Trasimeno, but also the more than 1700 m high densely forested Monte Amiata and the Formone River in Val d'Orcia with a wide pebbly riverbed. Participants worked on web spiders and scorpions, millipedes, praying mantises, cockroaches, termites and grasshoppers, true bugs and cicadas, Hymenoptera, beetles, as well as butterflies and moths. The picture gallery shows some interesting species.
Southern Alps, Northern Apennines and Apuan Alps - habitats and flora
Responsible: Dimitrij Trofimov and Jochen Müller
The Apuan Alps are located in the north-west of the province of Tuscany and border on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The mountains are characterized by high precipitation and account for about 30% of all Italian flora. Geologically, the Apuan mountain region is mainly composed of marble. The southern Alps in northern Italy consist mostly of calcareous rock formations. The excursion destination was close to the Slovenian and Austrian borders. Due to the geological conditions in both mountain regions, a rich flora occurs, including many endemic species.
The objectives of the excursion were to get to know ecological and geological aspects of the visited areas. The focus was on the knowledge of characteristic species in the two Italian mountains.
Tusco-Emilian Apennines near Abetone (Tuscany)
Forte dei Marmi on the Tyrrhenian Sea (Tuscany)
Wild River Meduna near Vivaro (Friuli)
Rocky Coast Nature Reserve near Duino (Venezia Giulia)
Every year millions of migratory birds are on the move between their breeding and wintering grounds. There are few places in Europe where bird migration can be better observed than in southern Spain, where thousands of soaring birds cross the narrow strait of Gibraltar that separates Europe and Africa. We stay at an international bird observatory run by the Migres Foundation. Migres implements systematic counts of migratory raptors and scientific bird ringing programs. These programs allow insights into the ecology of bird migration and population trends of many migratory species.
We join bird ringing sessions of passerine birds and – quite fascinatingly – black kites, count soaring birds of dozens of species and thousands of individuals, watch migratory seabirds and cetaceans. We search for owls, nightjars and bats at night and for birds and dragonflies during the day. We read a number of bird rings in the field and locate elusive chameleons in the coastal dunes. We learn about the strategies of migratory birds to cross oceans and deserts and about the challenges to bird conservation along migratory routes. A diverse program with a focus on bird migration that remains one of the most fascinating phenomena in nature.
In 2016 and 2018, the course has been carried out on the island Dugi Otok in Croatia. During two weeks in the field, we have been sampling the fauna (terrestrial and marine) and flora of islands of different size. Day trips with small boats were organized to travel to the islands.
The students have chosen a species group and teamed up in small groups to carry out systematic samples. Species identification is done is a laboratory room with digital microscopes. The course includes lectures and hands-on training in island biogeography, ecological field sampling designs and estimation of biodiversity, and a day trip to the National Park Kornati.