Contemporary Conservation Science - DI518

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 3)
Autumn 6 15 (7.5) DR C Gardner checkmark-circle


Conservationists must continually analyse relevant and topical issues in a broad, real-world context. This includes understanding contemporary research, critically evaluating its ecological, evolutionary and interdisciplinary basis, and using this information to inform effective solutions to conservation problems that are embedded in social, political and economic reality. In this module, students will use and apply knowledge/skills gained throughout their degree programme during in-depth discussions of how current research programmes, as presented at the weekly DICE seminars, fit into the wider conservation context. In addition, they will write up these evaluations as a series of 'News and Views' style commentary articles, as published in the top international journal Nature.


This module appears in the following module collections.


BSc in Wildlife Conservation



Method of assessment

100% Coursework
Written assignment 1 (2 pages) (33%)
Written assignment 2 (2 pages) (33%)
Written assignment 3 (2 pages) (33%)

Indicative reading

Brooks, T.M. & Helgen, K.M. 2010. A standard for species. Nature, 467, 540-541.

Tobias, J.A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Pilgrim, J.D., Fishpool, L.D.C. & Collar, N.J. 2010. Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis, 152, 724–746.

Kareiva, P. 2010. Trade-in to trade-up. Nature, 466, 322-323.

Fuller, R.A., McDonald-Madden, E., Wilson, K.A., Carwardine, J., Grantham, H.S., Watson, J.E.M., Klein, C.J., Green, D.C. & Possingham, H.P. 2010. Replacing underperforming protected areas achieves better conservation outcomes. Nature, 466, 365-367.

Pimm, S.L. 2001. Entrepreneurial insects. Nature, 411, 531-532.

Thomas, C.D., Bodsworth, E.J., Wilson, R.J., Simmons, A.D., Davies, Z.G., Musche, M. & Conradt, L. 2001. Ecological and evolutionary processes at expanding range margins. Nature, 411, 577-581.

Le Corre, M. 2008. Cats, rats and seabirds. Nature, 451, 134-135.

Rayner, M.J., Hauber, M.E., Imber, M.J., Stamp, R.K. & Clout, M.N. 2007. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 20862–20865.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 place research ideas and concepts into a wider contemporary conservation context
8.2 appreciate the interplay between pure and applied conservation studies
8.3 review, summarise and commentate on current research topics
8.4 synthesise information in the specialist primary peer-reviewed journal literature, and subsequently use it to support a personal opinion


  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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