This module concerns global biodiversity, what we understand by it and why it is in crisis, and current efforts to conserve and manage it. We begin with an appraisal of different values of diversity at scales from genetic to species, communities and ecosystems. We then consider the causes and consequences of losing biodiversity, the nature and scale of its loss, countermeasures at global, national and local scales, and the costs we may face in replacing services that depend on biodiversity. During the second half of the module, we take a community ecology approach, focusing on interactions between species, rather than species per se. We look at networks of interactions, and consider how they have been used to address practical issues in conservation. Finally, we consider global impacts on ecosystems, how they interact with one another, and how we might mitigate their impacts. The module seeks to engage discussion and debate,and inform opinion, on biodiversity and conservation.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Argue the case for and against conserving biodiversity
- Write a review article on a topical aspect of biodiversity and/or conservation
- Discuss examples of how ecological networks can be used in conservation.
- Appreciate how different global impacts can interact to affect ecosystems.
- Outline the main reasons for decline and threats to biodiversity worldwide
- Understand the importance of conserving ecological interactions.
- Describe the global biodiversity crisis
- Evaluate the pros and cons of species introductions and reintroductions
- Describe ecological networks and what they can tell us.
The module begins by defining concepts and scales relevant to biodiversity and its conservation. We will have a workshop early on about the damaging impacts of invasive species on biodiversity, which raises important issues about paying for our past misuses of the environment. We then cover causes and consequences of biodiversity loss and ways of measuring it. We consider efforts to tackle the biodiversity crisis at global, national and local scales. The second half of the module focuses on interactions between species and what we can gain from looking at interactions rather than species. We look at networks of interactions and consider how a network approach provides a tool for addressing practical issues in conservation. Finally, we consider global impacts on ecosystems, how different global impacts might interact with one another, and how we might mitigate their impacts.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, workshops, independent study, and a review assignment.
Desirable modules taken in years 1 and 2 include: BIOL1003 (Ecology and Evolution), BIOL2004 (Pure and Applied Population Ecology), BIOL2047 (Animal Conservation).
|Total study time||150|
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External