Biodiversity - DI305

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
(version 2)
View Timetable
4 15 (7.5) MR JW Bull







This module will introduce a range of fundamental concepts that underpin our understanding of biodiversity and, therefore, the conservation of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. The differences and similarities between the multiple definitions for the term 'biodiversity' will be considered, in addition to examining how scientists are trying to assess the magnitude of biodiversity on the planet. Spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity will be investigated, along with the importance of biodiversity (both use and non-values). The module will then explore the contemporary threats to biodiversity and provision of associated ecosystem services, in conjunction with a broad overview of the methods conservationists employ to protect and maintain biodiversity.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

The module will be taught via a combination of the following, with a total of 28 contact hours:
• Eleven one hour lectures
• Eleven one hour seminars
• One full day field trip to the Darwin Centre, National History Museum, London


This module is only available to students on BSc in Wildlife Conservation and
BA in Environmental Studies

This module contributes: BSc in Wildlife Conservation and
BA in Environmental Studies

Method of assessment

•A poster presentation (30%)
•A small group PowerPoint presentation (20%)
•A two hour written examination (50%)

Preliminary reading

Core text:
Gaston, K.J. & Spicer, J.I. 2004. Biodiversity: an introduction. 2nd edition. Blackwell Science, Oxford

Supplementary texts:
Caughley, G. & Gunn, A. 1996. Conservation Biology in Theory and Practice. Blackwell Science, Oxford

Dobson, A.P. 1996. Conservation and Biodiversity. Scientific American, New York

Gaston, K.J. (ed.) 1996. Biodiversity: a biology of numbers and difference. Blackwell Science, Oxford

Groombridge, B. & Jenkins, M.D. 2002. World Atlas of Biodiversity: Earth’s living resources in the 21st Century. University of California Press, London

Loreau, M., Naeem, S. & Inchausti, P. (eds.) 2002. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: synthesis and perspectives. Oxford University Press, Oxford

Various, but including: Nature, Science, BioScience and PLoS Biology

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module a student should be able to demonstrate:
A clear understanding of the biodiversity concept and the magnitude of biodiversity.
A knowledge of how biodiversity is distributed across the planet and the key hypotheses that have been proposed to explain observed patterns.
An understanding of how levels of biodiversity have altered through time.
An appreciation of the different use and non-use values of biodiversity, using real world examples.
A basic knowledge of the contemporary threats to biodiversity and the ways in which conservationists attempt to protect/maintain biodiversity.
An insight into the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), and its strengths and weaknesses related to the conservation of biodiversity.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.