Basic Field Course


Basic Field Course

Please note: There will be no courses offered in 2017 due to restructuring measures.



Open for all students: Module "Marine Biology Diving Skills - Basic Field Course"

Curriculum on SCUBA diving as a scientific method in cooperation with the University of Tübingen (Germany)

Thanks to the fruitful collaboration with Prof. Dr. Nico Michiels, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, the marine biology courses at the HYDRA Field Station are intergrated in the curricula of bachelor and master students of the bio- and geosciences at the University of Tübingen. The courses are coordinated and directed by Dr. Miriam Weber who has a teaching appointment at the University of Tübingen. Participants of the courses can obtain a graded course assessment upon the fulfilment of certain requirements with ECTS credit points. Of special interest are the new course modules "Marine Biology Diving Skills Basic" and "Advanced". With these the students have the unique possibility to be trained in scientific field work under water during their study and can deepen their knowledge within the realisation of their own project. The modules also allow students which meet the pre-requisites to cross-over directly to the "Advanced Field Course**". The modules are also open to students from other institutions. 


Marine Biology Diving Skills

The aim of this combination of courses is to introduce students to the basics of marine sciences and to train them as responsable SCUBA divers. After these two complementary modules they are able to conduct a scientific project under water, for their bachelor or master degree, independently, safely and successfully. This becomes possible through the combination of already existing approved courses with newly developed or modified ones. The "Basic Field Course" module provides a solid basic diver training, in parallel to an introductory marine biology course. "From Elements to Ecosystems" as this subtitle suggests gives a general overview over the various aspects of marine sciences. After the first ten days the freshly certified divers enter the next course, "Marine Zoology". Now they can explore the underwater world on their own and get a deeper insight into systematics and ecology of marine animals, both in the lab and in the habitat itself.

The second module "Advanced Field Course" starts with the new 10-days intensive advanced diver course. With a full-day program you are trained in several specialties and conduct the required number of dives leading to the exam to become a 2-Star-Silver-Diver. The next 10 days are dedicated to the course "Methods of Underwater Research", a course which for 17 years has been training students how to plan, safely conduct and successfully finish a scientific underwater project.

Outline of the Basic Field Course*

This 3-weeks module consists of two parts: In the first half the participants become certified for SCUBA diving, with emphasis on diving as a scientific method. Practical and theoretical units fill half a day's program. The training follows the regulations of EU standards (EN14153-2/ISO24801-2 - Level 2 Autonomous Diver) and is certified by the German Association of Diving Instructors (VDTL e.V./cedip) and the German Association of Sports Divers (VDST/CMAS).The other half day the students participate in the course "Introduction to Marine Biology - From Elements to Ecosystems". Here they gain insight into the Mediterranean ecosystem, its physical, (bio-)geochemical and biological processes as well as its typical organisms and habitats. With the end of this basic course also the dive training is finished and the students enter the second half of the module as certified divers.

In the 10-days course "Marine Zoology" the students broaden their diving experience during observation dives. They learn to dive autonomously and fulfill simple tasks as taking observational notes or sampling of sediments and organisms. The focus in diving knowledge is put on risk assessment and prevention. The scientific focus is on the various taxonomical units of marine animals, to recognize them and to deepen the knowledge on systematics, morphology, ecology and behaviour.

The students are requested to record and document their observations in the field and in the lab in order to produce a final report.

More informationen on the courses "Introduction to Marine Biology - From Elements to Ecosystems" and "Marine Zoology".

Recommended Literature (all available in our library on Elba)/Lectures

Rupert E.E., Fox R.S., Barnes R.D. (2003) Invertebrate Zoology: A Functional Evolutionary Approach. Brooks Cole Publishing, Belmont, CA.

Canfield D., Kristensen E., Thamdrup B. (2001) Aquatic Geomicrobiology. Elsevier Academic Press Inc., Amsterdam.

Ott J. (1996) Meereskunde, 2. Auflage. Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart.

Hofrichter R. (2001) Das Mittelmeer. 1. Auflage. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Riedl, R. (1983) Fauna und Flora des Mittelmeeres. Parey, Hamburg.

Bergbauer M. Humbert B. (2009) Was lebt im Mittelmeer?: Ein Bestimmungsbuch für Taucher und Schnorchler. Kosmos, Stuttgart.

Westheide W., Rieger M.R. (2006) Spezielle Zoologie 1. Einzeller und Wirbellose Tiere. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Heß M. (2010) Learn to dive 1,  Verband Deutscher Tauchlehrer e.V., Hofmann, Schorndorf.


Having heard the lecture "Introduction to Marine Biology" (Uni Tübingen) or similar class/lecture


Current dive medical certificate with clear statement "fit for SCUBA diving" (no restrictions). Validity: persons under 18 or over 40 years of age: 1 year; persons from 19 to 39 years old: 3 years. A standard form can be requested by e-mail.

Spending all day outside at the Mediterranean with heat, sun, wind and seawater can be quite strenuous, especially in summer. General good physical fitness is requested.

Target group      

Students of bio- and geosciences, related subjects. Interested in marine sciences.

Requirements for graded certificate/ECTS

Successful exam as a 1-Star-Bronze Diver VDTL/cedip or VDST/CMAS.

2 short presentations during the courses.

Written final report.

The module "Marine Biology Diving Skills - Basic Field Course" will be rated 6 credit points.

With additional work (e.g. more detailled course report, presentation at home university) some universities give more credit points for the participation in the course.

Aims of the course

The participants will be certified as 1-Star-Bronze Divers and will develop their competence to autonomously plan and safely conduct scientific dives within the limits of their knowledge.

The participants will gain an overview over the various field of the marine sciences. They will develop an understanding of the marine ecosystem and deepen their knowledge on marine animals.


Price Basic Field Course*

EUR 1520,-

Participation as a certified SCUBA diver is also possible. In this case there is no certification fee of EUR 30,- (final price EUR 1550,-).

Please note our group rates: a group of 5 gets 10% discount - if you book a group of 10 you get even 20% off!


Included services

21 nights in group appartements, dormitory-style (self-catering), 2 x 10-day marine biology course with diving course (VDTL/VDST* Bronze) and 8 guided dives, full diving gear rental.



Basic Field Course* August 17 - September 17, 2015 - course language is German    


see registration page