Key issues in Conservation Science - WCON5050

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Helen Pheasey checkmark-circle


The aim of this module is to examine emerging and controversial topics in conservation biology and to help students develop conceptual and critical thinking. Each week a topic is introduced in the lecture and discussed in seminar later in the week. You will be given papers on Moodle to read and evaluate before the seminar. Indicative topics that will be critically evaluated during the course include: developing sustainable use strategies for over-exploited species, wildlife trade and illegal hunting, the roles of zoos and museums in conservation biology, the impact of emerging infectious diseases, large-scale ecological and evolutionary approaches for setting conservation priorities, and the importance of reintroduction for recovery of threatened species.


Contact hours

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


BSc Wildlife Conservation

Method of assessment

Written Report (50%)
Examination, 2 hour (50%)

Reassessment methods: Like for Like.

*Exams will be online*

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Ewen, J.G. 2012 Reintroduction biology: integrating science and management. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford

Gaston, K.J. and Blackburn, T.M. 2000 Pattern and Process in Macroecology. Blackwells.

Gaston, K.J. and Spicer, J.I. 2004 Biodiversity: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing

Milner-Gulland, E.J. and Rowcliffe, J.M. 2007. Conservation and Sustainable Use: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press

Osborne, P.L. 2000. Tropical Ecosystems and Ecological Concepts. Cambridge University Press

Pimm, S.L. 1991 The Balance of Nature: Ecological Issues in Conservation of Species and

Communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Sodhi, N.S. 2007. Tropical Conservation Biology. Blackwell Publishing.

Zimmermann, A. 2007 Zoos in the 21st century: catalysts for conservation? Cambridge University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 demonstrate a sound understanding of current key issues in biodiversity and conservation

8.2 develop an enhanced understanding of some important concepts in conservation science

8.3 demonstrate skills in critical thinking, and theoretically apply these to conservation problems

8.4 understand how current issues impact on conservation practice

8.5 develop skills to predict future issues in conservation (horizon scanning)

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 demonstrate added confidence and competence in their analytical skills

9.2 demonstrate heightened ability to express themselves in speech and in writing

9.3 demonstrate heightened competence in communication more generally

9.4 synthesise the research of others and form a coherent argument with it

9.5 develop research skills of their own with which to identify and locate appropriate sources


  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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