Global Biodiversity - DI510

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Module delivery information

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


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 the following module collections.

Contact hours



Available to students registered for BSc in Wildlife Conservation

Method of assessment

50% Exam; 50% Coursework
Essay (50%)

Indicative 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)

Learning outcomes

8.1 Demonstrate an understanding of global distribution patterns of species richness, endemism and threat for major taxonomic groups.
8.2 Demonstrate an understanding of environmental gradients, ecosystem processes & the origins of biodiversity
8.3 Demonstrate methods for prioritising areas of high species richness and endemism
8.4 Critically evaluate the concepts of biodiversity hotspots, congruence and surrogacy
8.5 Critically evaluate global approaches to predicting biodiversity loss and conservation strategies


  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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