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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ray Hilborn
FISH 323
Seattle Campus

Conservation and Management of Aquatic Resources

Topics include population dynamics, extinction risk, meta-populations, marine reserves, bioeconomics, protection of endangered species, sustainable harvesting, and management institutions. Examines case studies such as salmon, albatross, and whales as representative of conservation issues in aquatic sciences. Sampling, experimental design, computer skills, and research writing.

Class description

Water covers 70% of the earths’ surface and aquatic environments are critical for everything from moderating the climate to providing food for the growing human population. The oceans and freshwater are home to some of the most fascinating biodiversity known, and are critical for many human needs from recreation to transportation. Human life on earth without the oceans, lakes and streams would be impossible.

This course is about the conservation and management of aquatic resources and particularly focuses on the human impact on aquatic systems including pollution, introduction of exotic species, fishing, and climate change. The course focuses largely on the impacts of fishing. While in the long term the impacts of human-induced climate change may be more important to the oceans, it is fishing that (1) provides food to much of humanity, (2) has easily measured impacts on biodiversity, and (3) is actively managed by most countries. In addition to the management of fisheries we will also cover other topics including climate change, pollution, introduction of exotics, endangered species classification, aquaculture, and marine protected areas.

In addition to lectures, readings and laboratories about the conservation and management of aquatic resources, the course also provides training in a range of skills. First and foremost this is a writing course, students in the course will write two papers in the format of a scientific research article and the first paper will be revised once so there are three writing assignments. We also have a number of lab sessions that will teach you computer skills, particularly EXCEL, but we will also go through some of the skills associated with using WORD in a productive and efficient fashion to produce scientific papers. Each student will make one brief oral presentation during lab sessions to refine oral presentation skills.

Student learning goals

1. understand the major issues in conservation and management of aquatic resources. 2. understand the impacts of fishing on aquatic ecosystems. 3. be familiar with a range of case studies of fisheries management including some classic stories of poor management and some of good management. 4. Understand the major elements of fisheries management and how this differ from country to country and region to region. 5. have further developed your analytic, interpretive and critical thinking skills 6. have further developed your comprehension, communication and writing skills

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

a. Students will be expected to submit their papers online using the Catalyst Tools developed by the university. While this is as simple as uploading an e-mail attachment, several students in the past have complained that the process is intimidating. If you are uncomfortable with the prospect of submitting your papers online, you can learn more about using the Catalyst tools in their student guide: http://catalyst.washington.edu/student/index.html or talk to the Instructor or TA for assistance

b. Students are expected to know (a) what constitutes peer-reviewed scientific literature, and (b) how to use the library resources to search for peer-reviewed scientific articles in our field. If you need help with this, contact the fisheries-oceanography librarian and set up a tutorial: http://www.lib.washington.edu/fish/librarians.html

c. Students are expected to be familiar with Microsoft Excel. You are not expected to be an expert; if you have used the program in previous labs (such as Fish 210) this is sufficient experience. If not, please familiarizing yourself with this program before the first computer lab, we will proceed very slowly in the first lab. Here are some suggestions:

Class assignments and grading

Mid-term exam I 15% Final Exam 25% Book Review 10% Readings quiz and questions 5% Paper I 15% Revision of Paper I 15% Paper II 15%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Course Website
Last Update by Ray Hilborn
Date: 09/29/2010