Explores biological, managerial, economic, and ethical concepts affecting survival of species. Applications of ecology, biogeography, population genetics, and social sciences for the preservation of species in the face of widespread global habitat modification, destruction, and other human activities. Prerequisite: either a minimum grade of 2.5 in BIOL 180, B BIO 180, TESC 120, or BIOL 356.
This class is intended to provide an overview of conservation biology research and application. Because conservation biology is broad and interdisciplinary, it will be impossible for us to cover all areas of the field, and each day’s topic could easily be expanded into a specialty class of its own. Though some of you will go on to pursue further study in conservation biology, we recognize that most of you will not - our goal, therefore, is that after completing this course you will be a well-informed citizen regarding conservation issues, with basic skills in acquiring and evaluating biological data related to conservation decision-making. Furthermore, we expect that by completing the course you will advance your writing, speaking, quantitative, and critical-thinking skills.
The course consists of two, 1.5-hour class periods per week, which are broken into lecture and discussion; and one, 2-hour period per week devoted to lab exercises. Lectures are intended to introduce critical concepts and issues in conservation biology, using classic study systems as illustration whenever possible. We will introduce the history of a concept/issue, important research in that area, current controversies and questions, and the range of techniques being used to address them. We will expect students to respond to questions, generate and share hypotheses about the topic being addressed, and think of methods that could be used to address specific questions. The second half of lecture periods will often be devoted to discussion of readings and case studies.
Finally, conservation biology is an applied science that draws on many scientific concepts and tools that you may have already learned in other biology classes. In part this class gives you a different context for their application. If you find that your recollection of some of the basic science is rusty, we expect that you will get yourself up to speed and/or ask for clarification from the instructor and TAs. Your textbook is a good resource for both the basics as well as in-depth knowledge that goes beyond the scope of the course, should you desire it.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading