• Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

For this four-week expedition you will be based at the Northern Dalmatia marine research centre on the beautiful island of Silba. If you are not dive trained you will complete a PADI Open Water dive training course in your first week followed by the Mediterranean ecology and survey techniques course, with two lectures and two practicals each day for the second week. Alternatively, if you are already dive trained or would prefer to snorkel you can complete the Mediterranean ecology and survey techniques course in your first week. For the remaining 2 or 3 weeks you can then join the different marine research teams helping with Noble Pen mollusc, sea urchin, seagrass, fish and marine plastics surveys.

Croatia Research Objectives

Krka National Park

The Krka Valley runs from the Dinaric mountains bordering Bosnia to the Adriatic and is only 77km in length. However, since the river runs through limestone there are some spectacular gorges and this is one of the most scenic river valleys in Europe. It is also important from a biodiversity viewpoint containing nine Croatian and three Krka endemic fish species and spectacular cave systems containing a number of potentially new species to science. Opwall together with Biota (a Croatian biodiversity research organisation) has built a research centre in the central part of the Krka valley with easy access to the whole park. The centre is based in a restored house and grounds within 100m of the park boundary and has access to all the habitats throughout the park and surrounding countryside. The National Park Authority have requested we perform baseline surveys to increase the known inventory for the Park, as well as collect long-term monitoring data to answer a series of their management questions.

Tourist visits to Krka National Park are heavily concentrated towards the lower stretches of the river and and very few people visit the central and northern parts of the valley. The Biota/Opwall research centre is in the central part of the valley within a rural community that has suffered from significant depopulation and land abandonment in recent years. The centre is designed to give benefits to the local community from the visits (e.g. provision of employment etc). Whilst the main research effort each year from this centre comes through the opwall programme, the centre will remain open year round in an attempt to attract some of the many visitors to the Croatian coast further inland, increasing revenue for the Park and local communities.

Silba Island

Silba Island is in the northern Dalmatian archipelago and is a car and hotel free island. The island markets itself as a haven of tranquillity and much of the island is still covered by Mediterranean black oak and maquis. The objective for our partners on this island is to develop the first marine research centre for northern Dalmatia and they have a series of research projects on seagrass, sea urchins, protected species and fisheries, as well as marine plastics.

  • Attend lectures/workshops on biodiversity and conservation
  • Learn about the biogeography of the Dinaric karst and mountains
  • Explore unique cave flora and fauna
  • Learn many different survey methods for freshwater fish, birds, snakes and mammals
  • PADI Open water dive qualification
  • Participate in Adriatic ecology course
  • Help in estimating the health of sea grass
  • Help in establishing No-take zones for fishing
  • Learn to estimate population of endemic and endangered Nobel shell
  • Learn to adapt to team work and experience its importance
  • Opwall fee
  • Cost of international flights into and out of Split.
  • Cost of internal travel to and from the start and end point of the expedition, plus any hotels you might require. This costs around £102 or $143. Extra nights’ accommodation in Split costs around £66 or $96.
  • Dive equipment rental – £50 or $75 per week for a full dive kit. If you only wish to snorkel and want to hire snorkel equipment, the cost is £25 or $38 per week. Please note that wetsuits cannot be provided – you should bring your own.
  • Park entrance fees – £26 or $38
  • PADI manual and PIC card (if you are completing your Open Water qualification) – £69 or $87 approx.
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified.

Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.

Climate
Croatia is hot during this time of the year! In both Krka and Silba the daytime temperature rarely drops below 30 degrees and can reach 40 degrees.

Fitness level required
Moderate. Whilst there are not many steep hikes in the forest, the hikes are still quite long and the temperature can make them tiring.

Creature comforts
In Silba you will be will be in dormitories, with shared western style bathrooms and toilet facilities. The site also has good phone signal.

Locations

  • Croatia
  • Silba

Want to get involved with this project?

Preparation

Want to get involved with this project?

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 | info@opwall.com