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Field courses

Several educational projects from European universities (e.g. Greece, Sweden, Germany) have included a field visit at NEO in their regular program. Subjects studied here include atmospheric composition, water resources, climate change, earth sciences, geography and interdisciplinary environmental management among others.

Theory and practice of aerosol chemistry and engineering for climate, air quality, emissions and health effects, by means of  In-Situ and Remote Sensing Observations

The objective of the HAAR (Hellenic Association of Aerosol Research) international summer school, which takes place at NEO every year, is to train young researchers on state-of-the-art instruments for determining the key properties of atmospheric aerosols, the tools for analyzing and interpreting the data, and the knowledge for putting those in the context of climate change.

Aerosol particles are key components of the atmosphere and thus strong determinants of the climate at local, regional, and global scales. To understand how emissions by a number of natural and anthropogenic sources contribute to the atmospheric aerosol and to climate change there is a need to combine both in-situ and remote sensing observations with model predictions. The summer school is organized around lectures that cover the basic theory followed by hands-on experience on:

1. in-situ instruments for measuring the concentration, size and chemical composition of atmospheric particles,

2. systems for probing the vertical distribution of the atmospheric aerosol, and

3. new integrative approaches using models and observations for impact assessment.

The lectures and practical applications were provided by a total number of 16 invited leading experts in the above 3 fields.

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Water management issues from a social science and management perspective

This master course is one of the courses within a broader university programme for internationalization developed by Swedish universities and the Swedish Institutes around the Mediterranean. (For more details see www.usinetwork.se.) This cross-disciplinary master course is offered by Stockholm University, Linköping, Uppsala University and the Swedish Institute in Athens. The course is addressing the question of water quality and quantity in urban and rural areas with a focus in Greece, including examples of sustainable water usage and exploitation over time. During their visit at NEO, the students follow several lectures and also organise and implement a series of interviews with farmers, fishermen, locals, representatives from the Water Management agency of Pylos, the Captain Vassilis Foundation and associates from the Costa Navarino resort in order to deal with different aspects of water related issues for settlements and water management.

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Eco-hydrology - a Mediterranean perspective

The relations between hydrological processes and ecosystems as well as societies are particularly relevant in Mediterranean regions, where water availability varies significantly at season time scales and inter-annually. Following water in all components of the ecosystem and at different scales, this course examines how eco-hydrological processes shape form and function on human societies, landscapes, plant communities, and agricultural systems in Mediterranean region. Lectures held at Stockholm University and NEO provide students with key hydrological, geomorphological, ecological, and physiological concepts.

Concepts from the lectures are applied to field experiments performed at and around NEO during a full week of activities. Students develop their own research hypotheses and design experiments to test them – looking at plant biophysics and ecology in relation to water availability in both natural plant communities and in agricultural systems. 

This masters course is offered every second year by the Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University and it is supported by lecturers from other universities such as Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Uppsala, University of Western Ontario, Canada and Cornell University, USA.

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Cultural Heritage Materials and Technologies

Studies on the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Heritage and Science/Technology offer the great potential of a modern and balanced educational syllabus; they also produce an ideal platform for holistic approaches that are guaranteed by the creative mixing of up-to-date methodologies with archaeological science, archaeometry and cultural heritage technologies. The programme is oriented by the Department of History, Archaeology and Cultural Resources Management, University of the Peloponnese and operates in collaboration with the National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos, the Navarino Environmental Observatory (through the National Observatory of Athens) and key lecturers from other academic institutions in Greece.

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Physical Geography and Quaternry Geology

The Physical Geography course is a bachelor’s course at the Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University. During a week at NEO, the course visits a number of different sites - like the Gialova/Navarino Bay area, Taygetos Mountains, Loussios canyon and Kapsia Cave – where the students gain knowledge on how different natural processes like tectonics and erosion as well as human activities, shape the landscape and how climate change and land use processes might shape the landscape in the future.

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Course in air-pollution and meteorology    

This is a bachelor’s course at the Physics Department, University of Patras, Greece. During their visit at NEO, students follow lectures about meteorology, air pollution characteristics of the area, measurement methodologies, quality control and assurance procedures. In addition, students need to deliver projects based on the air pollution and meteorological measurements at NEO atmospheric laboratory, located at the HNMS (Hellenic National Meteorological Services) premises at Methoni.

During the course, invited researches from the National Observatory of Athens also give lectures on their research activities.

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General Geochemistry course

This bachelor course is an introduction to the field Geochemistry offered by the Department of Geological sciences, Stockholm University. The course applies fundamental chemical principles to understand and describe geological processes and is catered to first and second year bachelor students. The course is divided up into weekly moments in which acid-base equilibria, redox processes, solubility, mineral chemistry, stable and radiogenic isotopes, kinetics, cosmo-chemistry, and fundamental thermodynamic principles are covered. The particular focus during the week at NEO station is low-temperature geochemistry and the application of acid-base properties and redox processes to understand the chemical composition and geochemical processes in aquatic and sedimentary systems. Lectures and theoretical exercises are combined with two field moments, in which the students conduct field measurements in Gialova wetland and collect marine and freshwater samples for chemical analysis. 

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Climate, Climate Change Impacts: Greece

In the frame of the project-course "Climate, Climate Change Impacts: Greece", BSc, MSc students and postdoctoral researchers of the Department of Geography at the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Germany, visit NEO for a week. The project course aims at providing interdisciplinary knowledge on the climate of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, volcanism and impacts on climate and societies, the Mediterranean Sea circulation, palaeoproxies, climate reconstruction and methodologies, impacts of climate variability and change on ecosystems, hydrology and water resources, atmospheric monitoring, archaeology, plant eco-physiology. The group visits several sites around NEO (e.g. Gialova lagoon, Paleokastro and Archaia Messini, the Taygetos Mountain, Polilimio waterfalls). The students have to prepare a scientific report combining knowledge acquired from the theory and methods and knowledge obtained during the excursion. 

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Natural disasters form a natural- and social science perspective

As part of a one semester Natural Science Specialization course a group of students from the upper secondary school, Värmdö Gymnasium, Stockholm, Sweden visits NEO on an annual basis. The specialization course is aimed at third year students attending the natural science programme with a global perspective, and the course theme is “Natural disasters form a natural- and social science perspective”. The excursion to NEO includes visits to geological, biological as well as historical sights of interest. The purpose of the week is to give the students a better understanding on how the landscape is shaped through geological processes and what effect these processes have on biological systems.

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Plant Biodiversity and Evolution

Every year the master's course ''Plant Biodiversity and evolution - a global perspective'' from Stockholm University, takes place at NEO in April. Per Ola Karis is the instructor of the field course. During the excursion, the students are visiting the following places:

1. The vicinity of the station, to get a good introduction to the local flora.

2. The Polylimnio waterfalls, close to Kazarma, which host a luxuriant vegetation among olive trees, and offer a nice walk down to the stream and ponds, where it is shady under the large Platanus trees.

3. Gialova lagoon and ruin, as well as the adjacent beach to the west of the lagoon itself.

4. Taygetos mountains, Mystras, and the museum of olives in Sparta. 

5. Pylos, with good vegetation around the fortress with large stands of Aleppo pine for example.

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Online courses

CIVIS PhD network in SOLID EARTH SYSTEM DYNAMICS

NEO team has prepared a virtual fieldtrip to Navarino Bay which was carried out on 21st April 2021, under a series of online virtual field trips on Geomorphology and Quaternary Geology. The course was developed under the CIVIS framework, as a collaboration between the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Aix Marseille University, Stockholm University - Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO) and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. The course was already included in the NEO dissemination strategy (put into action in 2021), and it also aimed at further communication of NEO and its activities and research, in addition to educational purposes.

The online course was open to Bachelor, Master and PhD students with a background on geology, geomorphology, natural and environmental sciences, and was followed by almost 80 students from Europe and America.

During the Navarino field trip the students had the opportunity to learn about the geomorphological processes which have led to the formation of the area, but also discuss about water management, land degradation, ecosystem restoration, and the impacts of socio-economic developments in light of the ongoing and projected hydro-climate and societal changes.

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