Climate Change and Conservation - DI501

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 6 15 (7.5) DR C Gardner checkmark-circle


This module will inform students how climate has influenced the diversity of life on Earth, from past to present, and its likely future impacts. We will begin with a summary of the physical science basis of contemporary climate change and the role that anthropogenic factors have played since the commencement of the industrial era. We will then explore the biological and ecological impacts of climate change on individual organisms, populations and communities, with particular emphasis given to understanding how species are responding. The module will then explore how conservation biologists are using particular interventions to ameliorate the most harmful and destabilising effects of climate change. From a more general perspective, the social, economic and political ways in which climate change can be mitigated will be assessed


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours



This module contributes to:
BSc in Wildlife Conservation
BSc Human Ecology
BA Environmental Social Studies

Method of assessment

50% Exam; 50% Coursework
Critical Writing Assignment (30%)
Computing Practical Report (20%)

Indicative reading

Brodie, J. Post, E. and Doak, D. (Editors) 2012. Wildlife conservation in a changing climate. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Burroughs, W.J. 2001. Climate Change: a multidisciplinary approach. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Hannah, L. 2015. Climate change biology. Second Edition, Academic Press, London.

IPCC, 2014. Climate change. Fifth assessment synthesis report. (Pachauri, R.K and Reisinger, A. Editors.]). IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland. (

Peake, S. and Smith, J. 2009. Climate change: from science to sustainability. 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Various, but including: Nature, Science, PNAS, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Global Change Biology, and Diversity and Distributions,

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 demonstrate a clear understanding of past, present and possible future climates;
8.2 demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the contribution anthropogenic factors have played in contemporary climate change;
8.3 demonstrate an advanced comprehension of how organisms, populations and communities have/will respond to climate change;
8.4 demonstrate synthesis of the measures that can be taken to mitigate climate change;
8.5 demonstrate critical evaluation of the various conservation actions/interventions that may be needed in a changing climate.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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