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Friday, 4 July 2014

Theory week at the Greek Summer School

After the return from the Sunday excursion to Papigo, the week started somewhat sluggishly.
The second week had more theory than field work. The topics covered included phylogenetic methods and their interpretations, given by Martin Wiemers (UWZ Halle, Germany), general database structure and querying databases using a biodiversity database of Greek plants (Stephanos Sgardelis, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki), and further details on biodiversity theory by John Halley (Univ. Ioannina). An evening lecture by Despoina Vokou (Aristotle University, Thessaloniki) introduced the participants to the world of policy and legal biodiversity protection tools. 

On Tuesday, the document transferring ownership of the station from the Labriadeio Foundation to the University of Ioannina, something that John Halley has worked for over some years, was ceremmonially signed. We hope this opens more possibilities to use this splendid location for more international courses. In the evening, the Rector of the University of Ioannina, Triantaphyllos Albanis visited the course, and greeted the students.

The weather continued to be sunny and warm, but many of the days were actually spent inside, and the participants’ attention gradually turned to the evaluation of their project data. On the lighter side, I gave an evening slide show on the biodiversity of Madagascar, based on my experience at another field school, that of the Tropical Biology Association. The ping-pong table was put into use, and the smile on the owner of the cafe/restaurant frequented by the course participants in the evenings is wider and wider as time goes by. The bird song slowly subsides – the nightingale sings shorter, and the scops owl sparsely announces its residence now. There are still fireflies, but their number is also decreasing. Later today is the exam and tomorrow, on the last day, we will have the student presentations.

Ano Pedina, 3 July 2014

Gabor Lovei

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