Research or internship opportunities available at our field station

A ROCHA Portugal has a field station dedicated to field work and scientific research since 1987. The  field station has welcomed hundreds of university students of all levels, from undergraduates to PhDs. Students from across the world have come to A ROCHA Portugal to work, volunteer or take part in an internship.

The A ROCHA Portugal field station, or Cruzinha, as it is commonly known, is managed by Marcial Felgueiras MSc and Paula Banza MSc. Both are PhD students at Évora university and have more than 40 combined years of experience in studying and defending nature.

Some of A ROCHA Portugal’s objectives are:

  • promote and carry out long-term research and monitoring for the conservation of Ria de Alvor and other areas of natural importance;
  • promote the involvement of local and international community for nature conservation, in a spirit of cooperation.

Our location

Cruzinha is located in Ria de Alvor, the most important estuary in the western Algarve. Ria de Alvor is protected by the EU and is a Natura 2000 area, and provides crucial habitat for many rare and unique animals, including over 150 bird species. The area is also important for people, for both recreational and economical activities, including traditional fishing and cockling.

Distances to other natural areas:

  • Lagoa dos Salgados: 35 km
  • Ribeira de Odelouca (Natura 2000 site): 20 km
  • Monchique (Natura 2000 site): 40 km
  • Parque Natural da Costa Vicentina (Natural Park and Natura 2000 site): 50 km

Research and monitoring

A ROCHA Portugal has long term scientific research and monitoring on many different species. We have an extended database, which includes the contribution of many students and volunteers.

A general overview of the database:

Theme Location Year(s) No of records Frequency/months
Bird ringing Ria de Alvor 1987 until now >80.000 Weekly during the year, daily during autumn migration
Moths Garden Cruzinha 1991 until now >20.000 Weekly during the whole year
Moths Ria de Alvor 2014 until now >10.000 Monthly during the whole year
Storm petrels South coast of Portugal 1990 until now >6.000 June
Kentish plover Ria de Alvor 2004; 2005; 2010; 2011 until today >700 March until July
Little owl Ria de Alvor 2005; 2014 27 February until April
Woodchat shrike Ria de Alvor 2012 5 April
Otters Ria de Alvor 2015 >25 March until May

There are possibilities to participate in ongoing field work and monitoring or to do individual research, with themes that range from macro-invertebrates, insects, birds, mammals, water quality, habitats and many more.

If you are interested, we can help to design a research proposal with you and your school or university.


Cruzinha has accommodation options in two dorms. The meals, supervision of work, the use of equipment and WiFi are included in the price. Contact us for more information about prices.