Barcelona Urban Ecology

Barcelona Urban EcologyBarcelona is the second largest city in Spain, home to nearly 1.6 million people. But the city of Barcelona is also home to an intriguing variety of flora and fauna. Participants visit a range of sites which reflect the ways in which plants and animals have become integrated into the urban environment. Sites include the recently constructed Parc de Diagonal Mar, a community garden in the Eixample district, the spectacular Jardi Botanic and Montjuic park. Participants survey plants and animals, and gain an understanding of how life has adapted to the urban environment.

Montseny Freshwater Ecology

Montseny Freshwater EcologyMontseny National Park, a mountainous area located approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Barcelona, supports several unique habitats and diverse plants and animals. Participants assess macro-invertebrate diversity, and water quality parameters, such as oxygen content and turbidity, at two sites along the Tordera river. By comparing an unimpacted site and a heavily impacted site, participants gain an understanding of how humans affect streams, rivers and lakes, and how species adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Llobregat Delta Dune Ecology

Llobregat Delta Dune EcologyThe Llobregat Delta, an important wetlands, located approximately 5 kilometres south of Barcelona, contains some of the only natural dunes along the Costa Brava. Participants construct a profile of the dunes using surveying equipment. Then participants determine how the distribution of plants changes across the dunes, and collect abiotic data, such as humus content and infiltration rate. Participants gain an understanding of plant succession, and an understanding of how the distribution of plants is affected by environmental conditions.

Montseny Forest Ecology

Montseny Forest EcologyMontseny National Park, a mountainous area located approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Barcelona, supports several unique habitats and diverse plants and animals. Participants visit four sights in the park. At each site, participants survey plant and tree species, determine the growth rates of representative species, and assess abiotic factors, such as soil pH and moisture content. By comparing sites at different elevation and aspect, participants gain an understanding of how species adapt to environmental conditions.

Collserola Forest Ecology

Collserola Forest EcologyCollserola Municipal park, a large mixed-use area, separates the city of Barcelona from the interior. Participants establish transects and measure diameters of Aleppo Pines (Pinus halepensis). Tree diameters are converted into biomass measurements using an equation. Then participants extract tree cores with an increment borer, and calculate ages and growth rates for trees. This study provides a unique opportunity for participants to learn about dendrochronology, the study of tree rings, as well as factors which affect tree growth in the Mediterranean region.

Garraf Mediterranean Ecology

Garraf Mediterranean EcologyGarraf Natural Park, approximately 10 kilometres south of Barcelona, is an extensive natural area of rolling hills and limestone formations. Participants survey representative plant and tree species at three sites, and collect abiotic data, such as sun exposure and soil moisture content. Participants gain an understanding of how plants adapt to changing environmental conditions in the Mediterranean region, a unique habitat found in only five places around the Earth.

Val de Nuria Ecology

Val de Nuria EcologyThe Val de Nuria is located in the Pyrenees, below the Puigmal, one of the highest peaks in Catalunya. After traveling to the valley on a cremallera, or mountain train, participants survey plant and tree species at representative sites, and collect abiotic data, such as soil pH and moisture content. Participants also assess water quality parameters, such as temperature and conductivity, in alpine streams and lakes. This course represents a unique opportunity to learn about the alpine environment in beautiful mountains close to Barcelona. Participants may also get a chance to spot the Isard (Rubicapra pyrenaica), a species of mountain goat common in the Pyrenees.

Banyoles Microbiology

Banyoles MicrobiologyLake Banyoles, a picturesque freshwater lake, located approximately 75 kilometres north of Barcelona, was used for water sports during the 1992 Olympics. Surrounding Lake Banyoles are several small pools and fountains, formed by water flowing through underground karstic channels. Each pool supports a unique community of microorganisms, including species which perform photosynthesis, and species which metabolize sulfur and iron. Participants measure several qualitative and quantitative factors, including water color and smell, oxygen content, sulphur content and iron content. This course represents a unique opportunity for students to observe the macroscopic effects of microorganisms.

Llobregat Delta Bird Watching

Llobregat Delta Bird WatchingThe Llobregat Delta, an important wetlands, located approximately 5 kilometres south of Barcelona, is an important stopping point for many birds migrating between Europe and Africa, and boasts several distinctive species, including the Martinet menut (Ixobrychus minutus) or Little Bittern. Participants explore the wetlands, learn about native and non-native plant and tree species, and view birds from special blinds and towers. This course is a wonderful opportunity to learn about a unique natural area close to Barcelona.

Alt Emporda Bird Watching

Alt Emporda Bird WatchingThe Aiguamolls de L'Emporda, a protected system of coastal wetlands and recovered agricultural fields, located approximately 100 kilometres north of Barcelona, is an important stopping point for birds migrating between Europe and Africa, as well as a breeding and nesting ground for several species, including the Ciguena Blanca (Ciconia ciconia) or White Stork. Participants explore the park, learn about native and non-native plant and tree species, and view birds from special blinds and towers. Participants also monitor habitat change from inland fields, through wetlands, to the coast. This course is a wonderful opportunity to visit a unique natural area along the Costa Brava.

Val de Nuria Glaciers

Val de Nuria GlaciersGlaciers are one of the most important factors which shape the land. The Val de Nuria is located in the Pyrenees, below the Puigmal, one of the highest peaks in Catalunya. After traveling to the valley in a cremallera, or mountain train, participants observe glacial features, such as U-shaped valleys and roches moutonnees, and study lichens to determine the dates of the most recent glacial periods. This course represents a unique opportunity to learn about lichenometry, the study of lichens for dating purposes, and allows students to view traces of the great glacial forces which shape the Earth.

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Barcelona Field Studies Centre S.L.