STEM Summer Research - Granada Courses

As a student working on projects with this group, you will conduct research in English. In addition to an intensive research experience (6 credits), you will take Spanish (4 credits) at the Centre of Modern Languages, amounting to 10 credits for your time in Granada. To prepare for this experience you will speak with your research mentor before arriving in Spain to begin working on your proposal.

Environmental Sciences, Physics & Math with CEMA Courses

Course IDTitleCreditsschoolTermSyllabus
GRAN RSLW 389 International Independent Research in STEM Fields 6 AU Summer PDF
GRAN SPAN 103S Intensive Spanish Beginning A 4 CLM Summer  
GRAN SPAN 104S Intensive Spanish Beginning B 4 CLM Summer  
GRAN SPAN 203S Intensive Spanish Intermediate A 4 CLM Summer  
GRAN SPAN 204S Intensive Spanish Intermediate B 4 CLM Summer  
GRAN SPAN 303S Intensive Spanish Advanced A  4 CLM Summer  
GRAN SPAN 304S Intensive Spanish Advanced B 4 CLM Summer  
GRAN SPAN 403S Intensive Spanish Superior A 4 CLM Summer  
GRAN SPAN 404S Intensive Spanish Superior B 4 CLM Summer  

Sample Research Projects

  • Precipitation pulse and soil respiration in Olive orchards (read more)
  • Respiration patterns over a Mediterranean wetland during the growing season (read more)
  • Impact of road traffic emissions on urban air quality (read more)
  • The role of the planetary boundary layer height on air quality at an urban site (read more)
  • Vertical distribution of aerosol particles over Southeast Iberian Peninsula in the frame of the EARLINET network (read more)

Sample Research Project Descriptions

Precipitation pulse and soil respiration in Olive orchards

The availability of water, limits the biological activities (photosynthesis and respiration) controlling the ecosystem carbon balance in semiarid ecosystems. Thus, in Mediterranean ecosystems, characterized by arid seasons, soil moisture is a major driver of the ecosystem carbon balance during dry periods. A rain event can induce a disproportional respiratory pulse, releasing an amount of CO2 to the atmosphere that may significantly contribute to the annual ecosystem carbon balance. This process is not well known in olive orchards, one of the most important agricultural systems in Mediterranean areas due to its environmental, social and economic benefits representing 35% of the agricultural area. Here, we evaluate how precipitation pulse patterns, interacting with physical and edaphic site factors, impact the balance of soil respiration in a Mediterranean Olive Orchard. For this purpose we will simulate a rain pulse event and measure soil respiration over a cycle of 24 h, the day of the rain simulation and 1, 3, 5 and 7 days after, using a portable soil chamber system (System (Li-Cor 8100, Lincoln, NE, USA)

Respiration patterns over a Mediterranean wetland during the growing season

Wetlands store ca. 25%-30% of the global soil carbon pool and are important CO2 sinks. With global warming, wetlands have the potential to release stored carbon, because of the high temperature sensitivity of plants and soil respiration contributing to the increase of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. In this context, to elucidate the behaviour of respiration under different environment conditions is key to improve the knowledge about how wetlands will respond to the climate change. This project proposes to study both plant and soil respiration under different soil temperature and water level conditions. To do this, the student will measure soil respiration using in a Portable Soil CO2 Chamber System (EGM-4/SRC-1,PP-Systems,Hitchin, UK) over different meteorological and soil state conditions. In addition, the student will model the total ecosystem respiration using net CO2 fluxes measurements at the ecosystem level. Differences between the modelled ecosystem respiration and the measured soil respiration will give us an idea about the contribution of the plant respiration.

Impact of road traffic emissions on urban air quality

Epidemiological studies have consistently documented adverse effects of air pollution on respiratory and cardiovascular health (Pope and Dockery, 2006), being traffic-related air pollution considered of particular importance. In urban environments, road traffic is considered the main causer of air quality degradation. For this reason, local authorities have to establish traffic-regulation policies in an effort to reduce the levels of air pollutants. The aim of this project is to study the effect of traffic emissions on black carbon concentrations (BC) and total number concentration of fine particles (N). To this end, measurements of BC and N performed at three stations located at different distances from the road will be analyzed. In the light of the results obtained, suitable abatement strategies and traffic regulations for the city of Granada will be proposed.

The role of the planetary boundary layer height on air quality at an urban site

The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is the part of the troposphere directly influenced by the Earth’s surface. The PBL height is highly variable in time and space, ranging from a few hundred meters to several kilometers with diurnal and seasonal cycles. The PBL height and its cycles are key parameters controlling air pollution because they determine the available volume for pollutants dispersion (Seibert et al., 2000) and are crucial for air quality studies. The student will characterize the evolution of the PBL height at an urban environment using the available instrumentation at CEAMA. The main objective of the project is to quantify the effect of the PBL height on air quality using temporal evolution of air pollutants concentration.

Vertical distribution of aerosol particles over Southeast Iberian Peninsula in the frame of the EARLINET network

Tropospheric aerosols (solid and/or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere) play a relevant role in the Earth's radiative budget and human health. Nevertheless, the actual knowledge of the aerosol spatial and temporal distribution is still inadequate to carefully estimate the aerosol role on climate change, both on regional and on local scale as the IPCC 2013 (Intergovernmental Panel on Change Climate) revealed. Large uncertainties affect the current estimates of the aerosol properties arising from the lack of a systematic statistical survey during a long time period and in a large spatial scale, and from the large variability of aerosols sources, properties and distribution. In order to overtake this uncertainty, several efforts have been made to improve measurements and data sets. In particular, the establishment in the last decade of networks performing systematic observation of aerosol properties represented accordingly a substantial accomplishment. Within each network, local studies based on long datasets were also performed with the aim to develop a long-term global climatology of the aerosol properties. This project proposes to study the vertical distribution of aerosol particles over Granada, in the Southeastern Iberian Peninsula by means of the lidar technique (lidar detection and ranging). To do this, the student will perform computations on lidar data gathered along the last decade at the EARLINET Granada station to derive several aerosol variables (geometrical and optical ones) over different atmospheric conditions. The student will focus on an affordable period to highlight the main features of the aerosol vertical distribution over Granada. The student will also learn about measurement process and data analysis routinely performed in EARLINET.