Croatia

The training course and survey options described below have been packaged as 2 week expeditions. Please read the packaged expedition descriptions and then move to the constituent part descriptions for further details of what you will be doing.

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Expedition options

Expeditions 1 & 2

Start date expedition 1: 15th June        
Length expedition 1: 2 weeks

Start date expedition 2: 20th July        
Length expedition 2: 2 weeks

There is limited space available on expedition 1

This expedition offers a fantastic experience in the shortest time period possible. The first week is spent in the Krka National Park assisting the biodiversity surveys CR001. The following week there is then a boat trip to various Adriatic Islands before arriving on Mljet and spending the last week in the National Park. Here you can learn to dive CR002 or complete the Adriatic ecology course CR003/04.

Constituent parts

CR002 PADI Open Water

This course involves a combination of theory lessons, confined water dives and open water dives to gain an official scuba diving qualification.

CR003 Adriatic ecology course & marine research – diving
CR004 Adriatic ecology & marine research – snorkelling

The course consists of lectures and in water practicals and teaches identification of common genera and species of coral and other macroinvertebrates, identification of the major reef-associated fish families and common species. Designed to introduce a variety of methods and practices used for scientific research in the marine environment.

CR001 Krka National Park biodiversity surveys

Students rotate between a range of projects led by staff from the Croatian Institute for Biodiversity.

Fish surveys: These are boat and foot-based electrofishing and netting surveys of various habitats along the Krka River. There are a number of endemic species including two endemic trout species (Salmo visovacensis and Salmo obtusirostris krkensi) that are being investigated. All fish captured will be identified, measured and genetic samples taken.

Reptile surveys: Surveys are performed by checking under previously placed cover boards and completing standard search times in different habitats and heights in the valley. The park authorities are keen to determine how the four lined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata) which grows to 2.5m, the venomous nose horned viper (Vipera ammodytes) and the leopard rat snake (Zamenis situla)separate their niches. In addition the surveys will be recording the distribution of the giant glass lizard (Pseudopus apodus), which grows to a length of 1.2m and tortoises (Testudo hermanni). Night surveys are also done for the cat snake (Telescopus fallax) which is the only nocturnally active snake species in the region.

Cave surveys: Students assisting with these surveys will be led by cave biology specialists, in caves which are not open to the public and will involve completing transects and quadrats within the cave systems to estimate diversity of groups adapted to cave living. Soil samples will also be taken from different parts of the cave system and sorted in the lab to estimate soil biodiversity.

Bird surveys: These surveys will involve setting mist nets early in the morning at different heights in the valley. Point count surveys will be completed either side of the mist net surveys each day. Target species for the birds include the Natura 2000 important bird species.

Butterfly surveys: Students will complete pollard counts of the butterflies.

Mammal surveys: The large mammal species are surveyed using camera traps and searching areas for footprints and faecal samples. Within the Krka Valley and surrounding plateau there are two large wolf packs and these appear to be reducing the jackal and fox populations. In addition to downloading images from the camera traps and analyzing the footage these teams will also be setting and emptying small mammal traps and in particular looking for the endemic vole (Dinaromys bogdanovi) found in the Dinaric mountains.