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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Ecological Science

Undergraduate Course: Conservation Science (ECSC10036)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryConservation Science is an honours course combining biological and social science perspectives on the field of conservation. The course is a 20-credit course demanding significant student investment into the coursework of 200 hours: lectures/discussions/workshops (3 hour sessions each week), preparation and readings (at least 3 hours per week), group learning (3 hours per week), assignment preparation (60 hours), field course (three days) and external reading and engagement (20 hours). The course does not have any pre-requisites, but students are expected to have a background in ecology or biological sciences and to be comfortable reading and interpreting the scientific and social science literature and understanding basic applied statistics and mathematics.
Course description Week 1 19 Sept. 2017 No lecture this week
Week 2 26 Sept. 2017 Introduction to Conservation Science (Keane + Myers-Smith)
Week 3 3 Oct. 2017 Patterns of biodiversity (Myers-Smith)
Week 4 10 Oct. 2017 Why do we conserve biodiversity? (Keane)
Week 5 17 Oct. 2017 Background population ecology for conservation (Myers-Smith)
Weekend Fieldtrip 20 - 22 Oct. 2017 Weekend fieldtrip to the Cairngorms: Conservation management in practice
Week 6 24 Oct. 2017 Protected areas (Keane)
Week 7 31 Oct. 2017 Conservation Science Mid-term Conference *** Presentations ***
*** Opinion Piece Due (3 Nov. 2017 12pm noon) ***
Week 8 7 Nov. 2017 Threats to biodiversity (Myers-Smith)
Week 9 14 Nov. 2017 People-focused conservation (Keane)
*** Blog Post Due (17 Nov. 2017 12pm noon) ***
Week 10 21 Nov. 2017 Applied techniques in conservation: satellite remote sensing (Mitchard)
Week 11 28 Nov. 2017 Conservation in practice, course wrap up (Myers-Smith and Keane)
*** Post Note Due (1 Dec. 2017 12pm noon) ***
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students can take EITHER Conservation Science OR Conservation and Management of Natural Populations (SBS). Please note PT's cannot directly enroll students on to SBS courses.
Additional Costs Approximately £60.50 for optional field trip to Cairngorms to cover costs for travel and accomodation. Costs will be reviewed on a yearly basis and are subject to change. Please be aware that students outwith the Ecological and Environmental Sciences (including with management) degree programme will pay full price and not the subsidised fee advertised. Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons, including security risks, increased costs or inability to access field locations. Any changes to the main destination of the field course will be announced as soon as possible.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesSuccessful completion of introductory ecology or biology courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  35
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Poster Presentation 10% - Given in Week 6 (31 Oct. 2017)
Skills being assessed: Communication skills, poster design, public speaking, interpretation of the scientific literature, development of an informed scientific opinion

Opinion piece 60% - Due Week 7 (3 Nov. 2017 12pm noon)
Skills being assessed: Scientific communication and writing, interpretation of the scientific literature, development of an informed scientific opinion

Blog post 5% - Due Week 9 (17 Nov. 2017 12pm noon)
Skills being assessed: Public communication, summary of scientific information, engagement with non-scientific audiences

Post NOTE 25% - Due Week 11 (1 Dec. 2017 12pm noon)
Skills being assessed: Public/policy communication, distillation of the scientific literature, summary of scientific information, engagement with policy/public audiences, development of a data visualization using quantitative skills
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the concept of biodiversity change and identify threats to global biodiversity.
  2. Understand how and why we conserve ecosystems and populations.
  3. Understand people-focused conservation.
  4. Use ecological and social science methods to communicate science to academic, public and policy audiences.
  5. Give an oral presentation, write an opinion piece and construct a blog and write a PostNOTE on selected topics in the field of conservation science.
Reading List
Week 1: No reading

Week 2: Soulé, Michael E. "What is conservation biology? A new synthetic discipline addresses the dynamics and problems of perturbed species, communities, and ecosystems." BioScience 35.11 (1985): 727-734.

Kareiva, Peter, and Michelle Marvier. "What is conservation science?." BioScience 62.11 (2012): 962-969.

Soule, M. The "new conservation." Conservation Biology (2013) 27:895-897.

Week 3:
Pereira, Henrique M., and H. David Cooper. "Towards the global monitoring of biodiversity change." Trends in Ecology & Evolution 21.3 (2006): 123-129.

Myers, Norman, et al. "Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities." Nature 403.6772 (2000): 853-858.

Kareiva, Peter, and Michelle Marvier. "Conserving Biodiversity Coldspots Recent calls to direct conservation funding to the world's biodiversity hotspots may be bad investment advice." American Scientist 91.4 (2003): 344-351.

Living Planet Index

Week 4:
Van Houtan, Kyle S. "Conservation as Virtue: a Scientific and Social Process for Conservation Ethics". Conservation Biology 20.5 (2006): 1367-1372

Justus, James et al. "Buying into conservation: intrinsic versus instrumental value". Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24.4 (2008): 187-191

Week 5:
Helmus, Matthew R., D. Luke Mahler, and Jonathan B. Losos. "Island biogeography of the Anthropocene." Nature 513.7519 (2014): 543-546.

Week 6:
Brosius, J. Peter. "Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas at the World Parks Congress". Conservation Biology 18.3 (2004): 609-612

Terborough, John. "Reflections of a Scientist on the World Parks Congress". Conservation Biology 18.3 (2004): 619-620

Brooks et al. "Protected Areas and Species". Conservation Biology 18.3 (2004): 616-618

Juffe-Bignoli, D. et al. "Protected Planet Report 2014". UNEP-WCMC: Cambridge, UK.

Week 7: Mid-term conference. No required reading.

Week 8:
Dornelas, Maria, et al. "Assemblage time series reveal biodiversity change but not systematic loss." Science 344.6181 (2014): 296-299.

McGill, Brian J., et al. "Fifteen forms of biodiversity trend in the Anthropocene." Trends in ecology & evolution 30.2 (2015): 104-113.

Newbold, Tim, et al. "Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity." Nature 520.7545 (2015): 45-50.


Week 9:
Adams, William M. et al. "Biodiversity Conservation and the Eradication of Poverty". Science 306 (2004): 1146-1149

Milner-Gulland, E.J. et al. "Accounting for the Impact of Conservation on Human Well-Being". Conservation Biology 28.5 (2014): 1160-1166

Week 10:
Hansen, Matthew C., et al. "High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change." Science 342.6160 (2013): 850-853.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsConservation,Biodiversity,Land-use change,Protected areas,Ecosystem services
Course organiserDr Isla Myers-Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 7251
Course secretaryMiss Eilein Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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