Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Introduction to Conservation Biology

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces various areas and concepts in Conservation Biology, through a multidisciplinary approach. The study-unit will start by defining "conservation biology". It will explore the various types of risks to biodiversity which may cause faster rates of extinction. Case studies will be used to illustrate the causes leading to increased species extinction, as well as the manner in which such risks may be managed. The use of protected areas, as well as conservation practices outside such areas, will be discussed as tools for conservation of species and habitats.

Other topics to be considered include: ex-situ conservation and re-introduction; landscape conservation; conserving the evolutionary process (the longer-term consideration of conservation).

The roles of conservation policies, management, enforcement and monitoring in sustainable development will be discussed.

Students are informed that regular lecture attendance is obligatory. A grade may be awarded to this study-unit only if the student's attendance to lectures sessions has been regular and only if the required written course-work assessment has been submitted.

Study-Unit Aims:

To introduce the student to the basic concepts of conservation biology;
To familiarize students with basic terminologies and definitions;
To learn various techniques and tools used,including purpose and limitations;
To introduce students to various local and foreign case studies so as to learn how this science is currently applied in the field.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Define Conservation Biology and biodiversity;
Discuss the value, levels of and threats to biodiversity;
Discuss the meaning of species extinction and how it happens, through specific case studies;
Conserving Populations and Species: case studies and techniques used;
Identify the requirements for Protected areas;
Discuss conservation outside protected areas;
Relate policy developments, management, enforcement and monitoring to the requirements of sustainable development;
Discuss ex-situ conservation and re-introduction as well as landscape conservation.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

Assess data presented through case-studies and identify patterns in such data with the aim of solving specific problems;
Communicate their findings both orally, but especially in a proper written format;
Gain skills in data mining and data handling using IT.

Main Text/s and any supplementary Reading:

PRIMACK, R. B. (2008) A Primer of Conservation Biology, Fourth Edition, W.H Freeman & Co. Ltd.
PULLIN A.S. (2002) Conservation Biology Cambridge University Press.
VAN DYKE F. (2008) Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, Applications. Springer.
HUNTER M. L. , GIBBS Jr., J. P. (2006) Fundamentals of Conservation Biology, 3rd Edition Wiley-Blackwell.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Offered to B.Sc. (Hons) Biology and Chemistry.

A-Level Biology or equivalent.

Students are to note that they will be allowed to sit for this study-unit examination and will be awarded a grade only if they have regularly attended lectures and practical classes, if they have submitted any assignments, including practical reports and if they satisfy all other study-unit requirements.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 No 15%
Examination (1 Hour and 30 Minutes) SEM2 Yes 85%

LECTURER/S Adriana Vella

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.