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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies : Veterinary Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Applied Conservation Genetics Part 1 (VESC11252)

Course Outline
SchoolRoyal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryPart 1 of an introduction to the application of conservation genetics to support wildlife management, including theory and molecular genetics techniques. During this course, students will become increasingly aware of the role of genetics in conservation biology in a wider conservation context.
Course description This 10-credit course forms Part 1 of the Introduction to Applied Conservation Genetics. It covers the following topics:

- Genetics in Conservation Biology
- Identifying Populations for Conservation Management
- Genetic Monitoring Methods
- Genetic Management of Reintroductions and Translocations
- The Role of Genetics in Biodiversity Assessment
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Block 3 (Sem 2)
Course Start Date 13/01/2025
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Poster preparation and presentation (100%)

Feedback Live weekly sessions, detailed feedback on all assignments.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Integrate and apply a range of conservation genetic tools to specific management questions.
  2. Formulate practical solutions based on available information to address conservation scenarios.
  3. Communicate conservation genetic concepts and results to non-specialist stakeholders.
Reading List
Essential, Recommended, and Further Reading suggested for each week of learning. Main textbooks: Frankham, R. (2002). Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Cambridge University Press (online resource). Molecular Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell (online resource).

2. Haig SM, Miller MP, Bellinger R, Draheim HM, Mercer DM, Mullins TD. The conservation genetics juggling act: integrating genetics and ecology, science and policy. Evolutionary Applications. 2016;9(1):181-195. doi:10.1111/eva.12337

3. Gibbs JP. Problem-Solving in Conservation Biology and Wildlife Management¿: Exercises for Class, Field, and Laboratory. 2nd edition. (Hunter ML, Sterling EJ, Wiley InterScience (Online service), eds.). Blackwell Pub.; 2008.

4. O'Brien SJ, Johnson WE, Driscoll CA, Dobrynin P, Marker L. Conservation genetics of the cheetah: Lessons learned and new opportunities. Journal of Heredity. 2017;108(6):671-677. doi:10.1093/jhered/esx047

Identifying Populations for Conservation Management

1. Bruford MW. Future-proofing genetic units for conservation: Time's up for subspecies as the debate gets out of neutral! In: Population Genetics for Animal Conservation. Cambridge University Press; 2015:227-240. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511626920.011

2. Crandall KA, Bininda-Emonds ORR, Mace GM, Wayne RK. Considering evolutionary processes in conservation biology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 2000;15(7):290-295. doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(00)01876-0

3. Moritz C. Defining Evolutionary Significant Units for conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

4. Palsboll P, Berube M, Allendorf F. Identification of management units using population genetic data. Trends In Ecology & Evolution. 2007;22(1):11-16. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2006.09.003

5. Taylor BL, Dizon AE. First policy then science: Why a management unit based solely on genetic criteria cannot work. Molecular Ecology. 1999;8(12):S11-S16.

6. Fraser DJ, Bernatchez L. Adaptive evolutionary conservation: towards a unified concept for defining conservation units. Molecular Ecology. 2001;10(12):2741-2752. doi:10.1046/j.0962-1083.2001.01411.x

Genetic Management of Reintroductions and Translocations

1. IUCN/SSC. Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations.; 2013.

2. Senn H, Ogden R, Frosch C, et al. Nuclear and mitochondrial genetic structure in the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) - implications for future reintroductions. Evolutionary Applications. 2014;7(6):645-662. doi:10.1111/eva.12162

3. Soorae P. Global Reintroduction Perspectives: 2016. Case Studies from Around the Globe.; 2016.

4. El Alqamy H, Senn H, Roberts M-F, McEwing R, Ogden R. Genetic assessment of the Arabian oryx founder population in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE: an example of evaluating unmanaged captive stocks for reintroduction. Conservation Genetics. 2012;13(1):79-88. doi:10.1007/s10592-011-0264-3

5. Frosch C, Canestrelli D, Kraus RHS, et al. The Genetic Legacy of Multiple Beaver Reintroductions in Central Europe. Canestrelli D, ed. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(5):e97619-. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097619

6. Marr M, Brace S, Schreve D, Barnes I. Identifying source populations for the reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber L. 1758, into Britain: evidence from ancient DNA. Scientific Reports. 2018;8. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21173-8

7. Gaywood MJ. Reintroducing the Eurasian beaver Castor fiber to Scotland. Mammal Review. 2018;48(1):48-61. doi:10.1111/mam.12113

The Role of Genetics in Biodiversity Assessments

1. Brooks TM, Cuttelod A, Faith DP, Garcia-Moreno J, Langhammer P, Pérez-Espona S. Why and how might genetic and phylogenetic diversity be reflected in the identification of key biodiversity areas? Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological sciences. 2015;370(1662):20140019. doi:10.1098/rstb.2014.0019

2. Taberlet P. Environmental DNA: for Biodiversity Research and Monitoring. First edition.. (Bonin A, Zinger L, Coissac E, eds.). Oxford University Press; 2018.

3. Slootweg R. Biodiversity in Environmental Assessment¿: Enhancing Ecosystem Services for Human Well-Being. (Rajvanshi A, Mathur VB, Kolhoff A, eds.). Cambridge University Press; 2009.

4. Hoban S, Hauffe H, Pérez-Espona S, et al. Bringing genetic diversity to the forefront of conservation policy and management. Conservation Genetics Resources. 2013;5(2):593-598. doi:10.1007/s12686-013-9859-y
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and skills will include:

A. Research and Enquiry
Graduates of the University will be able to create new knowledge and opportunities for learning through the process of research and enquiry. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- be able to identify, define and analyse problems and identify or create processes to solve them
- be able to exercise critical judgment in creating new understanding
- be ready to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
- be able to critically assess existing understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and recognise the need to regularly challenge all knowledge
- search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding
- have an informed respect for the principles, methods, standards, values and boundaries of their discipline(s) and the capacity to question these
- understand economic, legal, ethical, social, cultural and environmental issues in the use of information.
B. Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
Graduates of the University will be able to work independently and sustainably, in a way that is informed by openness, curiosity and a desire to meet new challenges. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement
- be able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues
- be able to use collaboration and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views
- be intellectually curious and able to sustain intellectual interest
- be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts
C. Communication
Graduates of the University will recognise and value communication as the tool for negotiating and creating new understanding, collaborating with others, and furthering their own learning. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding
- use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others
- further their own learning through effective use of the full range of communication approaches
- seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness
- recognise the benefits of communicating with those beyond their immediate environments
- use effective communication to articulate their skills as identified through self-reflection
D. Personal Effectiveness
Graduates of the University will be able to effect change and be responsive to the situations and environments in which they operate. This may be understood in terms of the following:
- appreciate and use talents constructively, demonstrating self-discipline, motivation, adaptability, persistence and professionalism
- be able to manage risk while initiating and managing change
- be able to flexibly transfer their knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another
- understand social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and issues
- be able to work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking, experience and skills.
KeywordsConservation genetics,population management,genetic units,genetic monitoring,genetic diversity
Course organiserDr Silvia Perez-Espona
Tel: (0131 6)51 7411
Course secretaryMr Michael Winpenny
Tel: (0131 6)50 8825
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