It’s almost Christmas Day, and in 2 weeks the Tenerife field trippers will be off! Hopefully everyone’s wish lists to Santa went something like this:
*Practical clothing for the field, including sensible shoes and thick socks
*Top of the range binoculars
*Some light reading, preferably ‘Natural History of Tenerife’ for the journey
I know mine did.
Tenerife is an island in the Canary archipelago, located over 1000 km from mainland Spain and about 100km from North West Africa. Having been formed by eruptions of the earth’s surface millions of years ago, Tenerife is effectively the tip of a volcano, crowned by Mount Teide (the highest mountain in Spain, at 3,718 m). The Canary Islands are renowned for their rich floristic and faunistic diversity, with over 600 endemic species.
The concentration of habitats and diversity on one island will give us the opportunity to explore themes relating to biogeography, habitat zonation, and ecosystem services, as well as providing the ideal setting for more detailed studies of behavioural ecology and plant-insect interactions (such as pollination and herbivory). We will also focus on human-wildlife conflict, as the growing tourist industry presents challenges with respect to the sharing of land and sea between wildlife and humans. A variety of sea birds and sea mammals are affected by the increased human population exploiting the area. Bring on the pub quiz, I’ve done my pre-trip reading.
From the sounds of the field course handbook, we Tenerifers are in for an exciting 2 weeks. We’ll be carrying out surveys in forests, sampling for insects, working in groups to undertake real research projects, visiting Mount Teide in a stunning national park, and making videos about what we learn. There’s even a whale watching trip on the cards, as there are 21 species of whale and dolphin in the waters around the Canary Islands- it’s the stuff of any bioscientist’s dreams!
In the final run-up to the trip, I’ll be checking the weather in Tenerife to get an idea of what plants might be flowering when we’re there (obviously… strictly science. But please be sunny).
Hopefully everyone’s having a lovely Christmas break, and is looking forward to their
relaxing holiday abroad challenging scientific excursion. Remember to stay tuned for future updates and follow us on our adventures! #FieldCourseFortnight #Tenerife #UoE