Compulsory programme modules in term 1
OverviewTackling conservation problems at the species level of organisation is both attractive and popular. In order to achieve this, it is important to understand how ‘species’ are defined and how they have evolved and gone extinct over evolutionary time scales. Certain species may be used to provide political or financial leverage in conservation programmes, while others may play fundamental roles in ecological systems – students will evaluate the different criteria used to assign species into these categories. This will lead into an appraisal of the role of conservation genetics in conservation planning, and how genetic and population parameters can be used to build predictive models of extinction risk. Islands provide special challenges for practitioners of species conservation – these will be discussed and illustrated with the aid of case studies. Assigning priorities in species conservation is essential to the planning process when resources are in short supply, and various quantitative and qualitative methods of achieving this will be presented, including the IUCN Red List system. The role of organisations such as NGOs and zoos will be discussed and evaluated, and current protocols for captive breeding, health monitoring, translocation and reintroduction presented. The module will draw together the various approaches to species conservation by appraising the structure, function and implementation of species recovery programmes.
This module appears in:
Method of assessment
End of module class test (20%); written assignment addressing a species conservation problem (80%). These two assessed pieces of work will reflect the combination of theoretical and practical/applied content of the module.
The assignment will require the design of a species conservation programme (c. 2000 words) and will test the understanding of all the learning outcomes and how they can be applied to a real-world problem. The class test will test knowledge and understanding of the material delivered and the ability of students to apply general species conservation concepts to specific examples.
Caughley, G. and Gunn, G. (1996). Conservation Biology in Theory and Practice. Blackwells.
Entwistle, A. & Dunstone, N. (eds.) (2000). Priorities for the Conservation of Mammalian Diversity.
Has the Panda Had its Day? Cambridge University Press.
Primack, R.B. (1998). Essentials of Conservation Biology, Second Edition. Sinauer Associates, Mass., USA.
Students who successfully complete this module will understand:
The concept of the species as a unit for conservation action and how this relates to wider biodiversity management within both natural and social sciences;
The use of surrogate species in conservation;
Genetic management in species conservation programmes;
How to measure the risk of extinction;
Recovery programme design, including translocations and captive breeding;
Critical thinking and assigning priorities for action
Integration of theoretical models and practical data
Presentation skills and writing reports
Assessment and appraisal of case studies