Organizing your fieldwork
Doñana is an outstanding natural laboratory in which highly diverse ecosystems enjoy an exceptional conservation status. It is, however, also a rough terrain with harsh climatic conditions, in which the fieldwork may be challenging. Please take it into account when planning your fieldwork, and do not hesitate to benefit from the logistic support and expertise provided by ICTS-RBD already by then.
The Doñana Protected Areas (PAs) include large beaches, active dunes, shrubland and forest on consolidated dunes, lakes and ponds, and extensive areas of marshland. With the exception of a handful of areas accessible through paved roads, fieldwork will require the use of 4×4 vehicles. While ICTS-RBD may support your activities on the short-term (1-2 days, previous request), you should plan for your own 4×4 vehicle for any prolonged field campaign.
Orientation is also challenging. If you are planning a field campaign requiring ample movements within the PAs and/or access to remote areas within it, please ensure that you obtain adequate logistic support until you are adequately trained for moving through the area.
While Doñana is relatively dry, flooding represents one of the main challenges for fieldwork taking place between autumn and late spring. All roads at Doñana PAs are unpaved, and the apparently short stretches of flooded potholes might be surprisingly deep – and ruin your fieldwork day, once you get stuck into it. Please take into account that your fieldwork might require readjustment if it coincides with a severe rainfall period.
This is even more important if you plan to work at the Doñana marshes. Once flooded, they are inaccessible by car (even 4×4) and, since they are typically shallow (<1m) but very extensive, difficult to access using boats or canoes. Sampling during the high-flood season is generally done on horseback, with the support of specialized personnel. Smaller lakes are the fringes of the marsh may however be accessed by car and sampled using waders and/or a small boat.