Our main interests in the Caucasus include the study of its plants and animals (biodiversity), the ecological education of university students, and specialised tours for interested tourists (e.g. botanists).
The main activity in achieving these goals is going on field trips to collect specimens of plants or interesting animals. Upon determination of the collected specimens in the laboratory the specialist can provide fundamental data on the biodiversity of the studied areas. These data are subsequently used as a basis for comparative biodiversity studies and nature conservation activities.
Plants or animals which cannot be asigned to a known species are forwarded to another scientist specialised in describing new species and writing determination-books (taxonomist). This way new species can be formally described to add to the global biodiversity. A large number of yet undescribed species are believed to dwell in the highly diverse landscapes of the Caucasus and alot of effort - and international cooperation - is needed in accomplishing the task of properly assessing its biodiversity.
For students of the natural and environmental sciences field trips are the basic means of obtaining a profound knowledge in their field of study. At many universities worldwide field trips are undertaken a number of times during their university-education. Due to the emotional and cultural impressions of field trips to ‘exotic’ countries or landscapes, the aquired abilities and knowledge are memorised much better than those taken in in other forms of learning such as lectures or practica.
So far, we have undertaken field trips to the Caucasus in 2004 and in 2006. Right now, we plan two field trips in the summer of 2007 - one with German students and the other with German botanists interested in the Caucasian flora.