Tenerife Field Course

8 – 18 January 2017

Module Convenor: Professor Juliet Osborne

Located over 1,000 kilometres from mainland Spain, the volcanic island of Tenerife is crowned by Mount Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. The incredible rugged landscape, home to over 600 endemic species, is characterized by an altitudinal gradient which allows us to visit radically divergent ecosystems in the space of a few kilometres. This location is ideal for studying the biodiversity and ecology of island habitats with large numbers of unique species, a variety of habitats, and a thriving tourism industry.

The field course aims to develop students’ scientific knowledge and understanding within three main areas: evolutionary ecology, behaviour and conservation. Tutored by experienced academic staff from the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, students examine the adaptations of plants and animals to habitats ranging from arid scrublands to humid laurel forests, coniferous woodlands and the developed coastal region. We study the behaviour and interactions of animals and plants in these habitats, conducting observational and experimental studies. We will also consider issues of human-wildlife conflicts and synergies on the island. This will be achieved through a series of walks, tours, a whale-watching boat trip, research projects, discussions and presentations.

While in Tenerife, students develop skills in ecological sampling and survey techniques, participate in assessed seminars and discussions and undertake a supervised, individual project on an aspect of behavioural ecology or a self-generated hypothesis about adaptation. On return to the UK, they individually produce and present an academic poster and, in small groups, produce a short film based on their studies which communicates science to a wide audience.

Find out about the degree programmes these students are studying.

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