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Study Abroad - Mediterranean Ecology

Spain  Italy • France

New! 2019 details coming soon!

The Mediterranean Basin is the largest terrestrial unit of the Mediterranean biome, which equally includes parts of California, Chile, the Cape region in South Africa, and the extreme 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 25,000 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.   

Throughout this course, students will examine the origins and drivers of the today’s Mediterranean biodiversity and review some of the up-to-date studies about its current situation. Students will also identify the most prominent threats to the future of Mediterranean biodiversity including mainly human-derived practices with direct impact such as warfare, urbanization, deforestation, desertification and intensive agriculture in addition to the indirect projected consequences of the slow on-set of global climate change. The course includes encounters with local, regional and multinational political actors to explore their opinions and contributions to conserve the wealthy Mediterranean natural heritage. 

This course is tailored to general science students. As such, it assumes a minimum knowledge of basic concepts in ecology, environmental science, earth science, biology, or any other equivalent natural science.  

Students will enroll in the following course:

  • Biology 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin
  • Ecology 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin
View a sample itinerary here. 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 2018: $5,375

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.