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Organisms in their environment field course

Location: Setubal Peninsula, Portugal

Course leader: Dr Rachel Hope 

Find out more about this module


You'll spend the first two days of the course familiarising yourself with the local flora and fauna, visiting local areas of interest such as Parque Natural da Arrabida and Cape Espichel. Arrabida is home to many endemic plant species, and on the cliffs of Cape Espichel you might even spot a dinosaur footprint or two! You'll then begin your research project, and spend the remaining days collecting and analysing data. Evenings are spend enjoying talks from each other on the region's biology as well as a quiz, and one evening you'll venture into Lisbon city centre to experience the local culture and delicious food.


During one of our hikes, we saw an amazing variety of plants... working in the field with my group was a lot of fun, this trip has sparked my interest in plants and I have learned to identify a lot of them.

You'll both stay and work at the Quinta de Sao Pedro field centre which is situated on the Setubal Peninsula, 15km south of Lisbon. This converted farmhouse is surrounded by 10 acres of land that cover a variety of vegetation types (macchia and garrigue, pine, eucalyptus and acacia groves, dry and marshy meadows) as well as ponds with abundant aquatic life, making it an ideal study site. You'll also have on-site access to lab space, a library, seminar rooms and plenty of space to relax and socialise after a hard day in the field.

Examples of research projects

  • Environmental factors determining the distribution of legumes
  • The influence of tree litter on soil characteristics and composition
  • The relationship between floral diversity and distance from a beehive