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Study Abroad - Mediterranean Ecology

Spain  France

December 28th, 2018 - January 14th, 2019

The Mediterranean Basin is the largest terrestrial unit of the Mediterranean biome, which equally includes parts of California, Chili, the Cape region in South Africa and the southwest of Australia. With an estimated surface area of 2.3 million squared kilometers covering merely 1.5% of the global land area, the Mediterranean Basin hosts around 25 thousand vascular plant species, about 15% of all species identified on earth, of which over 50% are endemic. This fascinating biodiversity has attracted the attention of scientists and policy-makers alike. Today, the whole Mediterranean Basin is defined as a biodiversity hotspot, the conservation of which is a prime priority for the global scientific community and regional authorities.

Throughout this course, we will examine the extent, the origins, and the drivers of today’s Mediterranean biodiversity and review some of the up-to-date studies about its current situation. Towards this objective, we will thoroughly study the eco-geographical and environmental conditions in the region and explore how they, among other drivers, contributed and continue to contribute to the current situation. In addition, we will identify the most prominent threats to the future of the Mediterranean biodiversity including human-derived threats with direct impact such as warfare, urbanization, deforestation, desertification, and intensive agriculture in addition to the projected consequences of the slow on-set of global climate change.

This course involves in-class lectures, field trips, and meetings with political actors from local and international organizations. The course is tailored to general science students, which assumes a minimum knowledge of fundamental concepts in ecology, environmental science, earth science, biology, or any other equivalent natural science.

Students can choose one of the following courses:

  • Biology 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin
  • Ecology 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin
  • Environmental Science 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin

Sites visited include:

  • France: Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles, Nice, Frioul Islands
  • SpainBarcelona

The 2019 itinerary will be available shortly. Please note, the schedule is tentative and subject to change. 

About the Professor

Dr. Mohammad Hassouna is a cross-disciplinary environmental scientist, who joined IAU in January 2014. Currently, he teaches Mediterranean Ecology, Principles of Wine Science, and Global Environmental Politics. He previously worked as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Aix-Marseille (France) and at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and served as a senior consultant for the Geneva-based international NGO Zoï Environment Network.  Dr. Hassouna holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Aix-Marseille, a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Birzeit (Palestine), and a M.Sc. in Populations’ Biology and Ecosystems Management from the University of Le Havre (France). He is fluent in English and French and a native Arabic speaker.

Program Fees

January 2019: $5,650

All program fees include t
uition for 3 credits, lodging, insurance, entrance fees to all museums and guest lecture venues, Intra-European transportation to and from each city, breakfast daily and some dinners.

Students who enroll in a January Term Seminar and the spring semester in Aix-en-Provence consecutively are eligible to receive a $2,985 grant credited to their spring semester invoice. In order to be eligible to receive the grant, students must participate in the Early Start Program during the week between the end of the January Term Seminar and the start of the spring semester. The Early Start Program allows students to move in with their French hosts a week before the semester begins, receive French language instruction, and participate in local cultural activities! Visit IAU's Scholarship website for additional details.