Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Studies in Conservation Biology

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Conservation biology is the applied science of maintaining the earth’s biological diversity. It is a cross-disciplinary subject reaching far beyond biology into subjects of philosophy, economics and sociology as well as into subjects such as law and education. On the other hand there are many biological aspects of conservation such as biological research, and in this respect, a detailed overview of appropriate research methods for conservation assessment, monitoring and management are the focus of this study unit.

“Thirty years ago maintaining biological diversity meant saving endangered species from extinction and was considered a small component of conservation, completely overshadowed by forestry, soil and water conservation, fish and game management and related disciplines. Now, with so many species at risk and the idea of biological diversity extending to genes, ecosystems and other biological entities, conservation biology has moved into the spotlight as the crisis discipline focused upon saving life on earth, perhaps the major issue of our time.” Hunter (1996) in Fundamentals of Conservation Biology.

In this fast advancing and demanding field of studies, students will be required to consider both the theoretical background while considering Global, European and Maltese practical scenarios. Topics to be focused on, through case studies, include:

• Advanced technologies applied to Conservation biology research and monitoring for conservation management and sustainable exploitation of natural resources;

• Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change;

• Ex-situ and in-situ conservation assessment and management;

• Conservation Areas: their role in biodiversity/species/habitat protection, research and education for conservation;

• Socio-Economic factors in relation to biological conservation issues: managing species and habitats within a human socio-economic framework;

• Habitat degradation and Restoration.

Students are informed that regular attendance to lectures, practical classes and visits is obligatory. Students will be allowed to sit for the examination and a grade may be awarded to a particular study-unit only if attendance to lectures, practical sessions and visits has been regular and if they have submitted all assignments and report as required.

Study-unit Aims:

a) to develop knowledge of conservation biology through case studies from local to global;
b) to familiarize students to terminologies and definitions used in conservation biology;
c) to learn various techniques and tools used, including their purpose, advantages and limitations, in the area of conservation biology.

Learning Outcomes:

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

a) Define and expand on the theoretical principles underlying conservation biology;
b) Distinguish the areas of conservation biology and their respective research tools;
c) Discuss current research trends and developing technologies applied to conservation biology;
d) Discuss the use of different areas of conservation biology to solve current biodiversity loss and environmental problems and supply accurate knowledge of species or populations requiring protection.

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

a) Analyse data through case-studies, literature review and practical sessions;
b) Communicate their findings both orally and in proper written format;
c) Consolidate skills in literature review and critical consideration of both the theoretical and practical issues linked to the areas of conservation biology.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

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.
MALCOLM L., HUNTER M. L. , GIBBS Jr., J. P. (2007) Fundamentals of Conservation Biology, 3rd Edition Wiley-Blackwell.
CAUGHLEY, G & GUNN, A (1996) Conservation Biology: Theory and practice. Blackwell Science Inc.
SUTHERLAND, WJ Ed. (1998 & 2002 reprint) Conservation Science and Action, Blackwell Science.
SUTHERLAND, WJ & HILL, DA (Ed) (1995) Managing habitats for conservation. Cambridge.

Several other texts will be suggested during the course.

B.Sc. (Hons) 1st, 2nd and 3rd Year Study-Units 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.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Independent Study, Lecture, Practical & Tutorials

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Fieldwork SEM2 No 25%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 75%

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.