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Highlights
  • Survey and observe birds. You'll check nest boxes set up by the researchers throughout the mountains, and learn to identify birds by their songs.
  • Track biodiversity. On your long-hike days, you will take note of all the plants and animals you see and monitor camera traps set up by the researchers.
  • Monitor small mammals. Keep an eye on the health of vole, mouse, and shrew populations by capturing them, collects measurements, and safely releasing them.
  • Survey bats. On some evenings, you will walk paths and count all the bats you see or detect with special sensors.
  • Assess vegetation. In preset research plots, you will measure trees and record the timing of natural events like fruiting and flowering.

In the high slopes of the French Pyrenees, as in other mountain regions, climate change has already begun to alter the landscape. Some species are moving to higher latitudes, and some have begun to decline. The ways humans use the land also causes shifts in the natural order of things, but little research has been done on how people have impacted this particular place. Questions of how climate change and human encroachment continue to alter this alpine world need answers as local organizations work towards sustainable solutions.

Trip Description

While trekking through this striking landscape, you’ll be among the first to search for these answers. Not much is known about the amazing biodiversity of the forests and alpine meadows, and your team will help identify the key species in the ecosystem and how they are changing. You will weigh and measure small mammals, find tawny owls and other bird species by spotting their nests and listening for their songs, observe bumblebees as they visit flowering plants, and detect bats. These tasks will help researchers find out how animals are faring, and how to best manage for key species such as the brown bear. The research will also help determine when natural events, like plant flowering and pollination, are occurring. Understanding the timing of such processes can help scientists learn if species’ life cycles are becoming out of synch with each other, which could have serious consequences for the health of this ecosystem.

 

Daily Life in the Field

Our days in this stunning environment will vary. Sometimes you’ll work at a research site close to home, and on other days you'll walk amidst the mountains at high elevations. Throughout the expedition, you'll see much of the countryside, from wooded mountainsides to quiet valleys and open pastures. You will help:

 

Monitor small mammals. Keep an eye on the health of vole, mouse, and shrew populations by capturing them, collecting measurements, and safely releasing them.

 

Track biodiversity. In each of the 12 sampling stations, you will take note of all the plants and animals you see, check some of the more than 100 nest boxes for birds and owls installed, and monitor camera traps set up by the researchers.

 

Follow daily growth of tree species (Pinus uncinata) along the elevational gradient using high-tech equipment.

 

Survey endangered vegetation of the currently disappearing natural snowbeds, and study how artificial snow is affecting the accompanying vegetation.

 

In the late afternoon, the team will return to the hotel to rest, record data, and identify photos of animals taken by camera traps. Evenings will include a communal dinner and time to rest, see some local sites, or learn more about the research.

 

Note: Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

 

 
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Earthwatch Institute Travel Reviews & Ratings
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Value
5.0 Guide
5.0 Activities
4.5 Lodging
5.0 Transportation
4.5 Meals
4.5
Stride Take

As on any Earthwatch fieldwork expedition, you’ll get down and dirty with researchers as you delve into the effects of climate change on alpine species.

Wildlife in the Changing Andorran Pyrenees

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J

Recommends

Incredible! August 2015

5.0
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Thanks for the incredible Retreat to Catalina Island. You guys are great!

Operator Earthwatch Institute

D

Recommends

Spend 1-2 weeks helping scientists get info, get to know one area really well. February 2016

5.0
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My wife and I have been on 6 Earthwatch expeditions, and are getting ready for our next with Whooping Cranes on the Texas coast. The others have included catching and banding migrating birds in Hungary, world's biggest bighorn sheep in Gobi Desert of Mongolia, Asian elephant behavior in Thailand, and most recently helping apple growers in the Himalayas adapt to global warming's effect on pollinating insects. You don't have to know much about the research in advance--they teach you what to do and why. Earthwatch team members are volunteers in citizen science, a team of 8-12 people usually observing and counting efforts to assist gathering info in field biology, sociology, archeology, oceanography, and there are projects all over the world in all months. We choose one we can tie to a trip to a foreign country so it's not a separate plane trip halfway around the world. We pay our own expenses (tax deductible), but they provide lodging, meals, opportunity for learning about the area besides the research focus.
Read more

Operator Earthwatch Institute

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival, meet teammates, introduction to research

Day 2-4

Training on sampling techniques and sampling activities, including:

Small mammals monitoring

Simultaneous birds of prey census

Vegetation surveys

Day 5

“Day-off”: help organizing data collected, visit sites with cultural interest

Day 3-8

Daily activities (same as Days 2-4)

Day 3-8

Departure.

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 2,025

Price Per Day:

$ 253 per person
 
Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.
Details
Trip Includes
  • Accommodations
  • Food
  • All Related Research Costs
Trip Excludes
  • International Flights
  • Passport and Visa Charges
  • Personal Expenses
Flights & Transport
Only ground transport
Group Size:
Intimate Group - 12 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 5
Accomodations

n an Andorran Pyrenees village called El Serrat, which is located in the Valley of Ordino, you will stay at a comfortable hotel with a pool, wireless Internet, and access to beautiful hiking trails. Take in the view of the surrounding mountains from your room (which you’ll share with another teammate) or from the terrace of the hotel’s restaurant. Hotel Bringué is in the center of the four valleys where the research will be conducted.

Start City
Andorran Pyrenees
End City
Andorran Pyrenees
Cancellation Policy:

If you wish to cancel your expedition place please inform Earthwatch as soon as possible. Your cancellation will be confirmed with an email from Earthwatch; you should not consider your expedition canceled until you have received this confirmation.

If you cancel less than 90 days before your expedition start date, Earthwatch will retain 100% of your contribution. If you cancel 90 days or more before your expedition start date, your balance payment will be refunded, but your nonrefundable deposit* will be retained by Earthwatch. If you used a promotional offer when registering for your expedition, your reservation is subject to the terms and conditions of that offer. It is your responsibility to ensure you understand any such terms prior to signing up.

Note: Any funds retained due to cancellation will support expedition field research and are considered a charitable donation to Earthwatch. Additional donations made above the minimum contribution are also nonrefundable and nontransferable and are considered a charitable gift to Earthwatch.

*AU one-day expeditions are treated as a non-refundable deposit and full payment is retained by Earthwatch.

Trip ID#: WilChaEar

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