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Field Practices, Sampling Design and Census of Marine Communities

Semester 2

Theoretical lessons
Through theoretical frontal lessons the students will comprehend:
- details of several destructive and non-destructive sampling techniques 
- concepts of population, sample and sample representativeness
- the importance of evaluating the feasibility of a planned sample strategy
- the importance of knowing phenology of marine organisms for defying a sampling strategy
- how to choose the most appropriate sampling method

Practical activities in the field
The aim of practical activities is to apply some of the techniques illustrated during the theoretical part of the course. Since part of the students may not have a diving license, most of the activities will be carried out on the seashore. They will include from four to five activities (little variation in the planned activities could occur in case of bad weather conditions):
-    sampling of benthic macrofauna on the intertidal zone of a sandy beach (method: hand corers)
-    sampling of seaweeds on the intertidal zone of a rocky beach (method: scraping)
-    simulation of a depth transect using shapes of benthic organisms and fish (visual census, quadrats)
-    collection of marine litter following the protocol of the Marine Strategy
In the lab students will examine different phyto- and zoo-benthic taxa to learn the main identification  approaches. 
Briefing and analysis of underwater pictures through the free software PhotoQuad to determine the percentage cover of the organisms

Diving activities may be performed depending on meteomarine conditions and level of diving license. Diving activities will be performed during field trips and costs will be defined depending on the number of participants and destination. Diving activities will be permitted only students having  a diving license, and a valid (lasting no more than one year) medical certificate specific for diving activities (released by a hyperbaric physician).