Students will recognise and demonstrate an understanding of conservation issues along a spectrum ranging from individual animals, through to populations (including conservation genetics), reintroductions, habitat restoration and anthropogenic sources of conflict. Based on case studies of ongoing conservation work this module highlights a solution-conscious approach to the challenges faced by the modern conservationist.
We will discuss the biological components of species integrity, from molecular genetics, to morphology, to behaviour, and interactions with environment (e.g.functional niches), through to ecosystem functioning. Students will consider the role of species’ life histories and individual differences in selective processes in human-dominated environments; the preservation of species integrity in zoos, human-dominated landscapes, in protected areas and beyond, into the wild (however we define it). We will evaluate exactly what it is we are conserving and consider what is important, the species itself or the process that produced it?
The module includes a 10 day field trip to one of Marwell Wildlife's conservation and research sites. A combination of theoretical and practical field sessions will allow students to develop expertise in a variety of techniques required for ecological surveying and monitoring of wildlife. Through facilitated discussion, students will compare, contrast and critically evaluate success and limitations of data gained on the field course. Emphasis is placed upon how these approaches are crucial for informing conservation decision-making, relating to wildlife.