While it is a common practice for a number of academic organizations to organize field courses outside their national borders on tropical coral reef science for undergraduate and graduate students, the same does not equally holds true for the Italian academy. A first attempt to reverse this situation resulted in the organization and accomplishment of Field Course on Coral Reef Biogeology hold in the Red Sea in April 2009. Our call to enrol attendees was extremely well received resulting in over 60 submissions for participation exceeding the quota of 48 students set for this experience. Attendees proceeded from universities in Italy (Chieti, Ferrara, Modena, Padova, Pavia, Perugia, Napoli, Palermo) and Germany (Potsdam). The main target was undergraduate and graduate students. However, participants were not requested to document any particular background besides an average snorkelling capability although a basic background in geology, biology and natural sciences was preferable. The basic concept of the course was a holistic learning-through-doing approach to the geology, biology, and ecology of tropical coral reefs and other coastal environments, such as mangals. This field course was subdivided into two main phases. The first phase comprised field excursions at sea (reef snorkelling) and on land (outcrop) led by tutors to learn the basic environmental attributes of modern and Pleistocene coral reef complexes and coeval siliciclastic counterparts. The second phase was conducted by small groups and/or individuals to carry out original observations on selected aspects of coral reef biogeology with the scope to help students to design and carry out in the field a specific research project on their own. Basic results of these projects were briefly illustrated to all the participants in the evening.The area selected for the course is conveniently located along the Red Sea coast of Egypt at Abu Dabab bay, ca. 40 km north of Marsa Alam. The bay is easily accessible by foot from the quarters were the entire group was lodged during the course. The bay is unique in combining a well developed sandy bay rich in seagrass (providing food for a stable population of turtles and dugongs) with lush coral reefs entering from the open sea into the bay itself almost up to the shore. The site offers a fine example of fringing reefs, quite diverse in coral and fish populations, Excellent pre-modern coral reef terraces border the coastline at this same site (mainly MIS5e, last interglaciation) and expand into the interior for some hundred meters (middle-upper Pleistocene). The large wadi ending in Abu Dabab offered the opportunity to students to familarise themselves with arid environments and observe Tertiary syn-rift rocky sequences. The reconnaissance of modern coral reefs was supplemented by a boat trip to the Qu’lan islands, just offshore Hamata, ca. 100 km south of Marsa Alam. This facultative trip also permitted the exploration of Avicennia mangrove habitats nearby. The enthusiatic response offered by students is a clear signal of how they feel important such practical experiences for their formation and, consequently, the moral obligation of teachers to reiterate and further expand similar actions.
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|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Titolo:||Paving the way: accomplischments of the First Field Course on Coral Reef Biogeology held in the Red Sea (Marsa Alam, Egypt, 19-24 April 2009)|
|Autori:||Bosellini F.; Morsilli M.; Silvestri G.; Taviani M.|
|Nome del convegno:||Geoitalia 2009|
|Luogo del convegno:||Rimini|
|Data del convegno:||9-11 settembre 2009|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Abstract in Rivista|
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