Background information

Originating in 1992, our biannual marine biological field course organized jointly by the Universities of Innsbruck and Kiel will again take place from July 28th to August 11th, 2018, at STARESO station. As in previous years, the first week of this event will be dedicated to study marine biodiversity and morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations of organisms to the specific selective pressures of various marine ecosystems. The following habitats will be studied: rocky substrates and boulder fields, sea grass meadows, algal beds, and corralligène. We will also look at the nearshore plankton community and the macro- and meio-fauna of sandy beaches. During the second week, two practical course units - fish ecology and sea urchin embryology - will be carried out in fieldwork and laboratory studies in and around the station.

Studying marine biodiversity involves sampling, either by hand or by using more or less sophisticated tools. Therefore, students will be engaged in extensive snorkeling basically several times per day. In the case of plankton and corralligène, the station boat will be used. Fishes will be determined by live observation in the water; all other animals, if possible, are brought to the station, studied and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic levels, and finally released again.

STARESO station offers an almost perfect environment for this course. Among the most important is the fact that the students basically live a few meters from the sea. There is immediate and protected access to the water, which makes snorkeling for the students easy to accomplish. All those different marine habitats are in close distance to the station, thus sampling can be done with limited effort. The station also provides wet and dry laboratories predominantly used in the second week. In order to achieve high end microscopic imaging and photography, binoculars and a fluorescence microscope connected to a digital camera will be carried from Innsbruck to STARESO. Furthermore, the station can provide all the equipment required for snorkeling or diving, and every student will be invited to do a test dive together with a professional diving instructor free of charge.

During the entire course, students will work with their course teachers in groups. They discuss their findings with the entire team at the end of every working day and present all their results during a mini-symposium at the end of the course. All these efforts will be documented as daily and project protocols to create a printable marine field course report. Reports of past courses are available as downloads on this website.

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