About the Practical Course
Glaciers have long been considered almost lifeless environments, but this view does not correspond to reality. In recent years, they have been recognized as ecosystems in their own right, teeming mostly with microbial life, but also hosting larger organisms. Our current knowledge of glacier ecosystems is poor and fragmented. Most studies conducted so far focused on peculiar supraglacial habitats and were restricted to specific taxa. The course is organised in two locations and will last 12 days. The venue for field activities and some lectures is the Rifugio Branca in Santa Caterina Valfurva (SO), Italy Alps. Alpine Guides and expert researchers will guide participant for sample collection in the National Stelvio Park. The venue for wet molecular laboratories, bioinformatics and statistics computer laboratories, practicals and other lectures is the University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
The focus of the course is to train young scientists with different backgrounds to interact with each other in planning and executing research projects aiming at identifying the ecological processes of supraglacial and proglacial ecosystems. The course will teach to reconstruct ecological webs and other ecological relationships. It spans from sampling campaign and traditional morphologic classification of organisms to sequencing, bioinformatic and statistical elaboration of sequencing data.
Images are courtesy of Francesca Pittino and Andrea Franzetti