Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation - WCON5030

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


Genetics forms the basis of the diversity of life on earth, and is fundamental to biodiversity, speciation, evolutionary ecology, and has become recognised to be vital to the successful restoration of endangered species. An understanding of the evolutionary processes that foster biodiversity and genetic diversity is essential for modern conservation biologists, across timescales ranging from a few generations to millions of years. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of genetic processes and evolutionary mechanisms within the context of conservation.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150


Optional for:
BSc in Wildlife Conservation (and cognate courses)
BSc Anthropology
BSc Biological Anthropology
BSc Human Biology and Behaviour

Method of assessment

Examination (2 hour) 100%

Reassessment methods: Like for like

*Exams will be online*

Indicative reading

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages (https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html).

Frankham, R., Ballou, J. D. & Briscoe, D. A. (2002). Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Cambridge University Press.

Stearns, S. C. & Hoekstra, R. F. (2000). Evolution – An Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Landweber, L. F. & Dobson, A. P. (1999). Genetics and the extinction of species – DNA and the conservation of biodiversity. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.

Schluter, D. (2001) The Ecology of Adaptive Radiation. Oxford Series in Ecology & Evolution. Oxford University Press.

Grant, P. (2002). Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches. Princeton University Press.

Soule, M. E. (1987). Viable Populations for Conservation. Cambridge University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module you will be able to:
1. Understand the different issues involved in evolutionary genetics from a theoretical standpoint.
2. Gain knowledge of the practical tools available to measure genetic diversity and evolutionary distinctiveness for making conservation management decisions.
3. Understand and discuss in detail key topics regarding population genetics and conservation genetics.
4. Understand the fundamental ecological and biodiversity-related concepts and how they apply to wildlife conservation, especially in the context of evolutionary genetics within the broader remit of conservation biology and ecology.
5. Understand the role of ecology in genetic problems associated with small population biology alongside evolutionary processes.
6. Interpret genetic data, relating to genetics in wildlife conservation issues, acquired for endangered species and relate this to behavioural data in the context of conservation biology.

Generic learning outcomes. Successfully completing the module will:
1 Develop your awareness of issues and practices involved with species conservation.
2 Develop your awareness of relevant biological processes.
3. Enhance your ability to analyse and appraise case studies.
4. Enhance your ability to interpret scholarly publications.
5. Assist the development of your independent research skills.
6. Develop your knowledge through discussion seminars.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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