Introduction to the Mediterranean Environment

Aims

   - To introduce the students to the physical background of the Mediterranean environment (geological history, current geology and soil types, climatic classifications and peculiarities) · - To analyze the patterns of biodiversity in the Mediterranean environment, the factors underlying them and major conservation efforts - To describe the major vegetation types and, in more detail, the characteristics of the Mediterranean ecosystems  - To analyze fire as a factor of disturbance of the Mediterranean environment  - To explore current post-fire management practices and their applicability  

Prerequisites

None
 
 
  

Learning Outcomes

The understanding of the peculiarities of the Mediterranean environment  The capacity to use main climatic classifications3. The understanding of the main milestones of the geological history of the Mediterranean environment The understanding of the patterns of biodiversity of the Mediterranean landscapeThe identification of the main vegetation types of the Mediterranean environment The capacity to environmentally assess effects of fire upon Mediterranean ecosystems and evaluate the options for their post-fire management          

Syllabus

The physical background of the Mediterranean environment.  Geological history and evolution of the Mediterranean Basin.  Climate classifications and the climatic characteristics of the Mediterranean.  Factors defining the biodiversity of the Mediterranean.  Major vegetation types of the Mediterranean. Characteristics of the Mediterranean ecosystems – adaptations to water stress. Man and the Mediterranean landscape. Fire Ecology. Simulating the resilience of Mediterranean ecosystems. Post-fire management options.Conserving the biodiversity of the Mediterranean environment.  

Content Delivery

The component is delivered through taught lectures, group discussions, an oral presentation and potentially, a field trip. Students are expected to complete a written assignment.  

Coursework And Assignment Details

 Oral presentations. Each of the students will be provided 1 or 2 published research or review papers dealing with any of the subjects discussed in the class. The papers should be analyzed and their synthesis should be presented orally (with a power point) in front of the class strictly for 15 minutes, while 5 minutes will be left at the end for the audience to ask questions and make comments.  Written assignment. Each student will be asked to identify a city within the Mediterranean region for which he/she will collect a series of climatic data according to a specific protocol. Then, the students will be asked to produce the climatic diagrams of the area in reference and, based on that, deduce the potential vegetation of the adjacent ‘natural’ area to the city. The students will be asked to explain their results and justify their conclusions.   Evaluation criteria. Students will be evaluated at the end based on the following criteria:      Performance on a written exam containing 4 questions related to the material presented in the class (70% of the final grade)  Performance on the oral presentation (15% of the final grade) Performance on the written assignment (15% of the final grade)