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TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS OF GREECE

             
Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Elective 13A804 8th 4 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 5 5.5
Aims:
 
 

The aim of the course is to provide the students with basic knowledge on concepts related to: a) the biodiversity of Greece in terms of its flora, fauna and terrestrial habitats, b) the patterns of the above biodiversity, in relation to the geological history of the area, the climate and species evolution, c) the threats that this biodiversity is facing, d) specific topics of the hellenic biodiversity , e.g. threatened species, protected areas, legislation,  e) the major strategies for its management and conservation.

Students after attending the course are expected to have developed skills for identifying the components of terrestrial biodiversity of Greece, to have become familiar with methods of studying populations in the wild but also in the lab, and to be plans for managing and conserving this biodiversity. 

 
Objectives:
 
 

At the end of the course students should: a) be able to acquire enhanced knowledge on ecological issues, b) be able to work in groups, c) be able to use their knowledge in solving simple ecological problems, d) be able to develop their judgment, their critical way of thinking for making decisions on ecological issues related to the terrestrial biodiversity of Greece

 
Lectures:
 
 

Introduction: Evolution of the Greek landscape in the geological time. Climatology and geology of Greece. Habitat types of Greece.

The diversity of the terrestrial flora of Greece: Flora and vegetation. Phytogeography of Greece. The structure of the Greek flora. Native and alien flora of Greece. Geo-elements. Endemism. Distribution ranges, Chorology. Status, threats and conservation of the Greek flora. Legislation.

The diversity of the terrestrial fauna of Greece: Zoogeography. Diversity of the Greek fauna. Native and alien species. Endemism. Distribution ranges, Chorology. Status, threats and conservation of the Greek fauna. Legislation.

The terrestrial environment of Greece in time and space: taxa differentiation in the Greek islands: The Hellenic environment since Meiocene, peculiarities of fauna and flora of the Greek islands and differentiation of characteristic taxa.

The diversity of the terrestrial ecosystems of Greece: Mediterranean ecosystems (phrygana, maquis, pine forests). Plant adaptations to water stress. Plant productivity. Nutrient pools and nutrient cycling. Consumers. Decomposers. Fire as an ecological factor. Plant and animal diversity in the Mediterranean ecosystems. Threats. Conservation and Management.

Mountainous Forests: Coniferous and Deciduous Forests. Distribution, structure and function. Plant and animal diversity in the mountain ecosystems. Threats. Conservation and Management.

Alpine ecosystems: Distribution, structure and function. Plant and animal diversity in the alpine ecosystems. Threats. Conservation and Management.

Ecotones and Coastal ecosystems: Distribution, structure and function. Plant and animal diversity in the coastal ecosystems. Threats. Conservation and Management.

Specific issues of Conservation and management: Networks of protected areas. Natura 2000 network. Environmental awareness. Environmental legislation

 
Practicals:
 
 

1. Soil moisture and soil water holding capacity (field – laboratory). 2. Soil pH (field – laboratory). 3. Soil texture (field – laboratory). 4. Plant biometry:  tree height measurement, (field). 5. Age structure of the endemic Greek fir population (field). 6. Plant life forms and chorology (field and laboratory). 7. Vegetation structure analysis: the Braun-Blanquet phyto-sociological method. 8.  Species – area relationship in plants: community heterogeneity and species richness (field – laboratory). 9. Species – area relationship in soil edaphic fauna (field). 10. Identification of animal tracks (field – laboratory). 11. Vertical structure of the soil fauna along the soil profile (field & laboratory).  12. Bird watching and counting (field). 13. Analysis of ecological data – ordination methods (laboratory). 14. Analysis of ecological data - Ecological Models (laboratory).

All Field exercises are performed in an obligatory 3-day trip in a series of terrestrial ecosystems of Greece, following a rotation scheme of students groups.

 
Instructors:
 
  Lectures: Margarita Arianoutsou - Farangitaki, Professor of Ecology (Coordinator) - Theophanis Constantinidis, Associate Professor of Systematic Botany - Aristeidis Parmakelis, Associate Professor of Biodiversity and Population Ecology - Dr. D. Kazanis, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. C. Radea, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. P. Andriopoulos, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. I. Bazos, Laboratory Teaching Staff
 
  Practicals: Margarita Arianoutsou - Farangitaki, Professor of Ecology (Coordinator) - Theophanis Constantinidis, Associate Professor of Systematic Botany - Aristeidis Parmakelis, Associate Professor of Biodiversity and Population Ecology - Dr. D. Kazanis, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. C. Radea, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. P. Andriopoulos, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. I. Bazos, Laboratory Teaching Staff - I. Kokkoris, Technical Staff
 
Notes:
 
  Students evaluation is performed in Greek. A final examination is organized covering all subjects taught and it consists of: a) written examination - questions of multiple choice, questions requiring short answers, questions requiring critical judgment (60%), b) written examination in the practicals (20%), c) group reports on each practical exercise (20%), d) Optional group seminar - bonus 0.5-1 to the passing grade. A pass is required in both written examinations for a successful result.
 
Contact:
 
  If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Prof. Margarita Arianoutsou - Farangitaki, at: Tel:(+30) 210 727 4352; e-mail: marianou[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr