2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
3 x 2-hour practicals per semester
1 x 8-hour field trip per semester
Examination, Lizard Trip Report, Project Report, Tutorial Participation
Topic description
During the topic twenty-six lectures will be delivered on the following:- What is biodiversity? How many living species are there? What is the distribution of global biodiversity? How is biodiversity measured? The role of systematics in assessing biodiversity. The role of ecology in understanding species interactions. Loss of biodiversity - rates of extinction. Loss of biodiversity - human impacts. The values of biodiversity - economic, social etc. Bioprospecting. Biological conservation - what are we trying to preserve and how can we achieve this?

Weekly tutorials will be held to assist students in the design and execution of their practical projects and to address any questions arising from the lecture material.

On field trips and practicals students will work in teams of approximately 5 students and will conduct a project over the semester on assessing biodiversity within a particular habitat.
Educational aims
This topic seeks to provide students with:

  1. An understanding of the extent of the world's biodiversity
  2. An appreciation of the threat to biodiversity posed by human activities, including an understanding of the nature and levels of current rates of extinction
  3. An understanding of the scientific bases of biological conservation
  4. An appreciation of the nature of the scientific method and of its strengths and limitations
  5. An ability to assess critically current and future developments relevant to the conservation of biological diversity
  6. An appreciation of the societal and ethical contexts of conservation biology, of human impacts on biodiversity and of the professional practice of biologists
  7. An ability to work effectively and cooperatively as a member of small teams
  8. An ability to communicate effectively using a variety of media
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of the topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Develop generic skills of problem solving, critical thinking, and writing through the development of individual reports
  2. Develop a sound knowledge of the concepts of biodiversity and conservation
  3. Become aware of issues influencing species extinctions and methods to conserve threatened species