Field trips To be held on 29th September 2011

Meeting point: Front Parking lot of the Venue. Departures: 8:30, Arrivals: around 19:30.

Picnic meal will be provided. Please arrive 15 minutes early and don't forget to bring a hat, sunscreen and comfortable gear.

Price: 35€ per trip.

Please be aware that the number of seats available for attending each field trip will be limited, nevertheless a minimum of 35 reservations will be necessary for launching each one of them. Therefore the Organizers reserves the right to suspend the trip if the number of attendants required is not reached.

More details about the different itineraries will be launched here soon.

Convenor: Fernando T. Maestre Gil

Brief description: We will visit the Aranjuez experimental station, where different experiments focusing on biological soil crusts and vascular plants are being carried out, as well as different gypsum outcrops located in the south of the Madrid region.

Bring a hat, sunscreen and confortable gear, as there will be a 30 minute walk (15 minutes each way) from the bus to the Aranjuez experimental station.

Duration: full day.

For pictures of the Aranjuez research station see:

http://cid-7c7378054d754e55.skydrive.live.com/play.aspx/.Public/Sitios%20de%20estudio?ref=1

Some papers derived from the research that is being carried out at the Aranjuez Research station are:

Castillo-Monroy, A. P., F. T. Maestre, M. Delgado-Baquerizo  & A. Gallardo. 2010. Biological soil crusts modulate nitrogen availability in semi-arid ecosystems: Insights from a Mediterranean grassland. Plant and Soil 333: 21-34.

Delgado-Baquerizo, M., A. P. Castillo, F. T. Maestre & A. Gallardo. 2010. Changes in the dominance of N forms within a semi-arid ecosystem. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 42: 376-378.

Eldridge, D., M. A. Bowker, F. T. Maestre, P. Alonso, R. L. Mau, J. Papadopoulos & A. Escudero. 2010. Interactive effects of three ecosystem engineers on infiltration in a semi–arid Mediterranean grassland. Ecosystems 13: 499-510.

Maestre, F. T., M. A. Bowker, C. Escolar, M. D. Puche, S. Soliveres, S. Mouro, P. García-Palacios, A. P. Castillo-Monroy, I. Martínez & A. Escudero. Do biotic interactions modulate ecosystem functioning along abiotic stress gradients? Insights from semi-arid Mediterranean plant and biological soil crust communities. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 2057-2070.

Soliveres, S., L. DeSoto, F. T. Maestre & J. M. Olano. 2010. Spatio-temporal heterogeneity in abiotic factors can modulate multiple ontogenetic shifts between competition and facilitation. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 12: 227-234.

Soliveres, S., P. García-Palacios, A. P. Castillo-Monroy, F. T. Maestre, A. Escudero & F. Valladares. 2011. Temporal dynamics of herbivory and water availability interactively modulate the outcome of a grass-shrub interaction in a semi-arid ecosystem. Oikos, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.18993.x

Brief description: This vast mountain range is the highest in central Spain, running through the provinces of Ávila, Salamanca and Cáceres. A Regional Natural Park is situated in the southern part of the province of Ávila and encompasses the highest altitudes of the mountains (above 2500 m.a.s.l) with high mountain Mediterranean landscapes. The Gredos mountains have been also designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is part of Red Natura 2000, offering a good opportunity to encounter a variety of soaring birds of prey overhead and also Spanish Ibex (Capra pyrenaica), which is particularly abundant and very easy to see in this area.

Two alternative itineraries have been prepared in order to fulfill the necessities and physical conditions of the participants. The first would require a better physical condition since we will go up to the Morezón Peak and then down by a steep and difficult trail to the Laguna de Gredos from where we will return to the Bus parking. The second, also to the Laguna de Gredos, will be easier through a well marked and maintained trail. Any case it will cross the Barrerones pass which is located close to 400 me up the departing point.

Duration: full day

Brief description: A mountain range forming the eastern half of the Sistema Central at the centre of the Iberian Peninsula and located between the Sierra de Gredos in the province of Ávila, and Sierra de Ayllón in the province of Guadalajara. These mountains constitute some of the region's most spectacular landscapes with a high diversity of flowers and animals of great ecological value, a treeline consisting of stunted Scottish pines (Pinus sylvestris) and relict juniper forests (Juniperus thurifera) in the piedmont.  

Duration: full day

Brief description: Placed in the south of Gredos Mountains, this large valley is crossed by River Tiétar and surrounded by “dehesas” of holm oaks, Mediterranean Pinus woodland and grassland, cork oaks and a complete panoplia of Mediterranean communities. This is an important site for endangered breeding raptors and Ciconia nigra.

Duration: full day

Brief description: The Iruelas Valley is a beautiful Natural Reserve which is located in most eastern tip of the Sierra de Gredos. It is a north oriented valley where typical Mediterranean and well conserved forests are found. There we can hike under the canopy of Mediterranean oak forests (Quercus pyrenaica) but also mature pine forests dominated by  different pine species (Pinus pinaster, Pinus nigra) where we can easily find outstanding and very old trees. Ravines and gorges are covered by alder and ash tree forests. In advance the reserve is famous by the endangered fauna it shelters, such as black vultures (Aegypius monachus) and Imperial eagle  (Aquila adalberti) which can be easily seen in the Iruelas skies..

Duration: full day