Global Biodiversity - DI510

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
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6 15 (7.5) DR PM Bennett


Only available to students registered for BSc in Wildlife Conservation





The aim of this module is to explore the evolutionary, ecological and biological concepts underlying biodiversity. Patterns of species richness, endemism and extinction risk will be examined at different spatial scales using recently available global datasets for mammals, birds and amphibians. We will consider the abiotic and biotic processes that explain these patterns including: - climatic, latitudinal and altitudinal gradients; topography; productivity; habitat heterogeneity and human population density. The main anthropogenic threats to biodiversity will also be examined including climate change, habitat loss, fragmentation, over-exploitation and invasive species. Finally, predictive models of future biodiversity loss will be appraised.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

11 hours= one lecture per week for 11 weeks.
11 hours=11 one hour seminars.


Only available to students registered for BSc in Wildlife Conservation

Method of assessment

50% Coursework, 50% Written Examination

Preliminary reading

Begon, M., Townsend, C.R. and Harper, J.L. (2005) Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems.
4th Ed. Blackwells.

Brown, J.H. 1995 Macroecology. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Gaston. K.J. 2000 Global patterns in biodiversity. Nature 405, 220-226.

Gaston, K.J. and Blackburn, T.M. 2000 Pattern and Process in Macroecology. Blackwell

Gaston, K.J. and Spicer, J.I. 2004 Biodiversity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing.

Grenyer, R., et al. 2006 The global distribution and conservation of rare and threatened
vertebrates. Nature 444, 93-96.

McCullough, D.R. 1996. Metapopulations and Wildlife Conservation. Island Press,
Washington, D.C.

Orme C.D.L. et al. 2005 Global hotspots of species richness are not congruent with
endemism or threat. Nature 436,1016-1019.

Pimm, S.L. 1991 The Balance of Nature: Ecological Issues in Conservation of Species and
Communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Ricklefs, R.E. 1990 Ecology 3rd Edn. W.H. Freeman & Co.

Wilson, E.O. 1992 The Diversity of Life. Harvard: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

Understanding of global distribution patterns of species richness, endemism and threat for major taxonomic groups
Understanding of environmental gradients, ecosystem processes and the origins of biodiversity
Methods for prioritising areas of high species richness and endemism
Critical evaluation of the concepts of biodiversity hotspots, congruence and surrogacy
Critical evaluation of global approaches to predicting biodiversity loss and conservation strategies

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