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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biological Sciences : Ecology

Undergraduate Course: Conservation and Management of Natural Populations (ECLG10009)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biological Sciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryConservation and management of natural populations is one of the greatest scientific challenges of the modern era. It affects every aspect of our lives, from food security (pollinators, fisheries, crop genetic diversity) and health (pathogen evolution, emergence of zoonotic diseases), to rural economics, sports and leisure (hunting, bird watching, re-wilding) and building materials (forestry). Effectively managing wild populations requires a thorough understanding of the fundamental biology and ecology of populations and communities.

The course will build upon basic population and community ecology to provide students with a conceptual toolkit for thinking about managing wild populations. We will start by revising core concepts and exploring how to use them to identify anthropogenic changes and determine their causes. We will then examine intervention strategies, exploring the different aims, requirements and outcomes of the more commonly used approaches. We will end with a more open ended, student-lead exploration of conservation successes and failures.
Course description The course is based around 10-12 lectures, but will also involve group discussion sessions centred on salient topics covered in these lectures and in-course assessment based on critical reading of papers from the primary literature which each student will be assigned.
We expect the lectures to be structured along the lines below (we may add / remove depending on specifics of course plan that emerges and availability of guest lecturers):

1. Introduction and revision of basic population and community ecology.
2. Species versus ecosystem centric approaches
3. Identifying THAT a population is changing.
4. Identifying WHY a population is changing.
5. Managing populations for evolutionary resilience.
6. Sustainable harvesting.
7. Macroecology and conservation.
8. Invasive species and Biological control
9. Re-wilding: aims, plausibility, case studies.
10. Glorious mistakes: where and why we got it badly wrong.
11. Reasons for hope: where and why we did something right.
12. Revision session
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Block 3 (Sem 2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 15, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 6, External Visit Hours 3, Online Activities 2, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 71 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% in course assessment (20% designing conservation strategy; 40% in course essay, 40% class test).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
Understand modern techniques for monitoring and managing natural populations.
Reading List
Primack, R.B. 2012 A Primer of Conservation Biology (5th Edition). Sinauer.
Begon, M., Townsend, C.R. & Harper, J.L. 2012. Ecology: from individuals to ecosystems (4th Edition). Blackwell.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Understanding of modern techniques for monitoring and managing natural populations.
Critical thinking. Analysis of primary literature. Data handling and synthesis.
Relating science to policy.
KeywordsConservation,ecology,population management
Course organiserDr Matthew Bell
Tel: (0131 6) 50 5496
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Law
Tel: (0131 6)51 3689
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