Climate Change and Conservation - DI501

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR CJAM Gardner


DI530 Spatial Analysis: Principles and Methods
DI310 Skills for Wildlife Conservation and Management

Or equivalent modules that cover similar material and specific learning outcomes of the prerequisite modules listed above- to be evaluated by the module convenor


Stage 3 students ONLY



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:

Contact hours

The module will be taught via a combination of the following, with a total of 24 contact hours over 12 weeks:
• Lectures (10 contact hours)
• Seminars (10 contact hours)
• Computing session (4 contact hours) in which students will explore predicted climate data for various parts of the world, and the implications that this has for biodiversity. This session will focus on analytical skills and statistical interpretation in teams


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

Also available as a Wild Module

Method of assessment

• A critical writing assignment (30%)
• A computing practical report (20%)
• A 2 hour written examination, comprising 3 essay-style questions from a choice of 6 (50%)

Preliminary 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)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module a student will be able to demonstrate:

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

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