Research background


The role of the  Department of Environmental Sciences, which was founded in 1993 at Bessenyei György Teacher Training College,  is important in carrying out scientific activities and in  specialized research. The main task of the Department was to train  ecology students in full time and correspondent frame. Additional to training  tasks the staff was also given the opportunity to link their individual researches (eg, ecology and environmental chemistry), and start new, ecology-related interdisciplinary projects.  The joint areas of research can also involve  international professional cooperation.
Researches undertaken in our institution in collaboration with various departments:
• The study of the impact of environmental changes in the regulatory mechanisms of photosynthesis and related processes in plants and algae
• Heavy metal testing in bird feathers, for biomonitoring purposes
• The conservation of nature and sustainable development problems of the Upper Tisza region, - this being  a new research topic having great importance in the institutional work
• Integrated monitoring of migratory birds, especially the sand martin population breeding at the Upper Tisza region. We examine the African and European impact, analysing the population-dynamics parameters (number of individuals, survival rate, dispersion), weather data, satellite images (NDVI, vegetation index) and biometric features.
• We carry out integrated monitoring research on the sand martins nesting by the Tisza since 1986, considering global climate change affecting migratory birds.


Sand martin

• We are the first in the world to confirm quantitatively the impacts occurring on nesting birds at the wintering areas (Sahel zone, Africa) (Szép 1995)
• In collaboration with international partners, we have developed a new method to identify potential wintering and migrating areas of migratory birds, with the help of satellite images and analysis of survival rates (Szép and Møller 2005)
• The habitat and land use, the development of analyzing chemical composition-based methods on feathers has started, (Vallner et al. 1998, 1999, 2000) as a world-first tested and applied method, in case of a wild migratory bird race, with national and international cooperation  (Szép et al. 2003)
• Daily Bird Monitoring (MMM), randomly selected locations for monitoring common bird species, which is among the first in Europe to provide a statistically accurate picture of changes in biodiversity status on the main domestic habitats.
Environment and sustainability
The main areas of the research team is the interdisciplinary study  of sustainable development in nature, its appearance in education, and its methods of teaching. Since the foundation of the Institute of Environmental Sciences, it was an important objective of the staff to make the knowledge  regarding environmental sciences accessible to all students. In order to serve this reason we have initiated to write a textbook entitled "Basics of Science" in collaboration with the staff of the Faculty of Science and Informatics, which includes a separate chapter on the basics of environmental science.
According to  the government's regulation that prescribed the implementation of a course in methodology that presents scientific skills in a complex way, we have edited a textbook on the issues on how science and technology influenced the development of environmental problems.
Besides the development of teaching materials, we have taken part, together with experts from ten other countries, in an international research group, working on the "Education for Sustainable Development" a project of the European Union, which resulted in a curriculum recommended for the European Union's institutions of higher education. The associated multimedia material is under preparation.
 Most recently the most significant work is trying to uncover the relationship between educating environmental awareness, and art, poetry and literature,. As a result, a book called "Poetry, nature, man and child," was published - and a multimedia version on the Internet -, and  also a book chapter entitled: 'From the environmental education to global educational'.

The research team has published, 11 peer-reviewed publications in the  period  of 2005-2010  (technical articles, books, book chapters), of which 4 appeared in international journals and 21 on conferences, including 6 international conferences.