Introducing and Identifying Insects – A Portugese Montado Study Tour


2nd – 7th September 2018: 8 PLACES AVAILABLE

Your chance to gain the valuable field skills needed by ecological consultants and field ecologists.

Start or enhance your insect identification skills in a magnificent setting.

This study tour to rural Portugal will explore the amazing world of insects and the role they play in one of Europe’s most biologically diverse, farmed habitats.  This study tour is part of an exciting new partnership between Ambios Ltd UK, Ambios Portugal and the Observatory of Cork and Cork Oak.  Participant fees contribute to local biodiversity training and management.

Our enthusiastic team of wildlife and ecology experts will create a dynamic, supportive learning environment over five days of field trips, seminars, practicals and workshops to introduce you to the world of insects and other invertebrates using the rich fauna of the Montado and Mediterranean forests near our base in Coruche.

What will I be doing?

We will visit the traditional Montado at Herdade da Medronheira and the Mediterranean forest at Herdade dos Concelhos. There will be opportunities to observe, photograph and identify a range of insects and other indigenous animals as well as understand the ecology of the different habitats.

The Montado offers the perfect environment to explore and debate the role of effective conservation, land management and silvo-agricultural practices and the role of these ancient anthropogenic landscapes in our modern-day world.

Our investigation of the insect world will focus in on the most diverse group, the beetles, culminating with a closer look at one of the beetle families that many holidaymakers will recognise, the darkling beetles.

We will also visit our partners at the Cork and Cork Oak Observatory which offers laboratory facilities for our investigations into the diversity of insects of the montado.

Here you can find the indicative schedule.

Who is delivering the training?

The tour is led by our Portuguese Expert Ecologist Gonçalo Cabecinhas (right).  Gonçalo has a background in forestry engineering and is currently a forestry technician overseeing the promotion, safeguarding and improvement of the cork oak forest as part of the Collective Efficiency Strategy of Cork and Cork Oak Forest.  A keen field entomologist, his knowledge of forest pests and diseases is fundamental to his daily activities.  Knowing how to identify useful and pest invertebrate species and assess their impact and what actions to take (if any) is the key to maintaining the successful management of the oak forest as pests can greatly affect forest productivity.

Dr Clive Betts FRES (part-time Ambios Ltd, part-time University of Exeter) is your entomologist from the UK with over 40 years’ field experience. After a studentship curating the Natural History Museum’s renowned international collection of bumblebees, Clive gained his PhD in insect flight from the University of Exeter and has taught Entomology at undergraduate and postgraduate level, worked as a micro-moth Taxonomist, was co-founder of the UK’s Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society and has published widely in professional and amateur journals on a range of entomological topics. Clive has a particular interest in the Mediterranean insect fauna, most recently being involved in projects in Portugal and Hungary.

Where will I be staying?

The accommodation is a newly converted town house right next to the River Sorraia on the outskirts of the town of Coruche.  It is used by visiting researchers, volunteers with whom we may share some of our time.  It offers basic yet comfortable shared sleeping accommodation in bunk bed style with communal bathrooms and cooking facilities.  There is a washing machine for washing clothes and many places to sit and relax during downtimes.  The location provides us with an ideal place from which to explore the surrounding countryside and river systems.

Meals will be taken at local restaurants and will be from their menus. They could include soups (of the day), main meals of Codfish “à Brás” or fried pork with mushrooms or Cod cakes with tomato rice.  Vegetarian options will be available.

Logistics and Costs

This is a fully escorted study tour with an expectation of learning through our time in an amazing location.  Our partners at Ambios PT will meet you at Lisbon Airport at 12:00 noon on 2 September and deliver you back to the airport for 08:00 on 7 September.  Full joining instructions will be issued to participants prior to departure.

The cost of this study tour £780
Deposit £100

8 places are available on this bespoke study tour.  A minimum of 6 participants are required to make the trip viable. The deadline for confirming the tour will go ahead is 15 August. If we do not recruit enough people, full refunds will be provided to those who have paid their deposit.

This cost includes:

  • Transfers to and from Lisbon airport
  • All accommodation (bunk-bed, shared washing facilities), meals and light refreshments during each day (full-board basis)
  • All in-country travel to and from field sites
  • Tuition and equipment provision

The cost DOES NOT include:

  • Flights to and from your home country to Lisbon – you must arrive at Lisbon airport by 15:00 local time on Day 1. Your return flight can be anytime on Day 6. Easyjet fly from Bristol. 
  • Personal spending money
  • Additional soft drinks and alcohol taken with meals
  • Trip insurance (please ensure you are covered)

If the study tour has to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances (extreme weather events, illness of key presenters, British Government no-travel advice or other circumstance deemed significant enough to merit cancellation, a refund will be given (excluding deposit).


Can I arrive in Portugal at a different time provided I am back at the airport for collection at 15:00 on Day 1?

Yes, that’s fine.  Please be aware that we will collect and return participants from Lisbon airport.  Travel prior to, or after, the duration of the study tour is entirely up to you.

Will there be any pre-study tour reading?

Yes.  We will send you links to online materials that will allow you to do some pre-study tour investigating which will allow  you to make the most of your time in Portugal.

Is there a single room supplement?

No, sorry, all rooms are shared.

Application Process

  1. Please complete this application form and return to
  2. If we think this study tour will will be a good fit for your needs, we will offer you a place on the trip.
  3. Once Ambios has accepted your application for the Introducing and Identifying Insects study tour, you can pay the deposit below.
  4. We will be in touch to let you know when the remainding payment is due.

Making Payment

2nd – 7th September 2018 Payment

All our training programmes are costed to either break even or generate a small operating surplus to fund other projects that  train the next generation of wildlife professionals.