Zahara field course
Where do we go?
In the second semester of the first year, you will spend 9 days in southern Spain at Zahara de los Atunes. The town is situated on the beach overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar with Africa visible over the water.
Why do we go there?
The rich Mediterranean flora and fauna coupled with excellent weather and many diverse habitats within a short distance of the town allow us to carry out a wide range of activities on the field course. As the summers are very hot in that area, spring is an excellent time to visit as many plants are flowering and invertebrates are numerous. The area is also famed for bird migration as its proximity to Africa makes it an ideal crossing point for summer migrants entering Europe.
What do we do?
The field course will focus on (a) learning how to identify plant and invertebrate species; (b) developing the skills to gather reliable data in the field; (c) keeping field notebooks, that accurately record information and data for future use; and (d) designing and conducting field-based research studies to generate original biological knowledge. As an example, we would expect to include some or all of the following activities:
- Ecological sampling methods.
- Habitat investigations in a variety of diverse habitats for flora and fauna.
- Ecology and conservation of coastal habitats.
The trip will end with a project which you will design and conduct while in Spain. There is plenty of opportunity to tailor your project to your own interests, and students have in the past successfully completed projects on broad range of subjects including:
- Diurnal behaviour of beetles.
- Effect of invasive species on native flora and fauna.
- Variation in pollinator visits to diverse floral taxa.
- Association between parasitic plants and their hosts.
The area of the field course allows you to see some of the specialities of the Mediterranean ecozone including European Chameleon, a wide selection of Fabaceae, birds including White Stork and Bee-eater and butterflies and moths including Spanish Festoon and Emperor Moth
When: April in the second semester of first year
Where: Zahara de los Atunes, Andalcia, Spain
Length: 9 days and 8 nights (residential)
Accommodation: Shared rooms in a hotel in Zahara
Food: Breakfast and dinner provided by the hotel. Make your own packed lunch each day or grab lunch in a local tapas restaurant. Vegetarian and vegan options available.
As a part of the first year of our BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology course we will take you to Zahara.
Find out more about the fieldwork in our video.