Undergraduate Course: Conservation and Management of Natural Populations (ECLG10009)
|School||School of Biological Sciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||Conservation 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.
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)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
||Block 3 (Sem 2)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
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
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||100% in course assessment (20% designing conservation strategy; 40% in course essay, 40% class test).
|No Exam Information
| Understand modern techniques for monitoring and managing natural populations.
|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.
|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.
|Course organiser||Dr Matthew Bell
Tel: (0131 6) 50 5496
|Course secretary||Miss Rachel Law
Tel: (0131 6)51 3689