Tackling 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.
Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 120
Total study hours: 150
MSc Conservation and cognate pathways
Method of assessment
Written Assignment (80%)*
Class Test (20%) - 15-20 short answer questions – 1 hour.
*This element is pass compulsory and must be passed to achieve the learning outcomes of the module.
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework.
Primack, R.B. (2014). Essentials of Conservation Biology, Sixth Edition. Sinauer Associates, Mass., USA.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. 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;
2. understand the use of surrogate species in conservation;
3. understand genetic management in species conservation programmes;
4. understand how to measure the risk of extinction;
5. understand recovery programme design, including translocations and captive breeding;
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Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
- ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
- The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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