Dates: 9-15 June 2020
This field course will bring you to a stunning location in the Swiss Alps, surrounded by unique alpine habitats, including forests, meadows, boulder fields, glaciers and snow-capped peaks. You will learn about the adaptations that allow organisms to live in an environment that is characterized by extremes, the fragility of the alpine ecosystem, and observe typical alpine vertebrates (e.g. alpine marmot, alpine ibex, chamois, red squirrel, golden eagle, alpine chough, spotted nutcracker, crested tit, black redstart; with a bit of luck: bearded vulture, red deer, wall creeper, black grouse), invertebrates (e.g. glacier flea, alpine argus), and plants (e.g. Swiss stone pine, larch, gentian, alpine rose).
You will witness first-hand the effects that humans have on this unique environment, for example through cattle and sheep herding, see how glaciers are retreating at unprecedented rates due to climate change, and discuss human-wildlife conflicts. In addition to guided excursions and lectures, students do a research project that allows new insights into the behaviour, ecology, or evolution of alpine species.
The course takes place in Pontresina, located in the Eastern part of Switzerland, which is easily accessible by train. Furthermore, all travel during the course takes place with public transport, including trains, buses, gondolas and chair lifts.
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