Introduction to Conservation Biology
EEB 208 (2208): Spring 2008
| This article is still under construction. |
Expect it to change frequently until this notice is removed.
This course will provide an introduction to the discipline of conservation biology. The first two-thirds of the course, will focus on the biological aspects of the discipline. Topics covered will include patterns of biodiversity and extinction, causes of extinction and population declines, techniques used to restore populations, landscape level conservation planning, and the role of conservation in protecting ecosystem services. The final third will cover the practical aspects of implementing conservation actions and will include lectures on conservation economics and conservation law.
Instructor: Chris Elphick (office is BioPharm 300A, behind the elevator at the north end of the building)
Teaching assistant: Vanessa Boukili (office: 219 BioPharm)
Lecture: M, W 2:00-3:15 PM
Location: Bio & Phys 131
Text book: Essentials of Conservation Biology (R.B. Primack, 4th Edition, Sinauer) is required reading. On exams I will assume you have read this material and may ask questions (though not many) about topics that are not covered in lectures.
Optional reading that might be helpful: Other introductory textbooks that might be worth looking at for supplemental information are Fundamentals of Conservation Biology by Malcolm Hunter and Conservation Biology by Andrew Pullin. If you are interested in more advanced information, then look at Principles of Conservation Biology by Groom, Meffe and Carroll. Finally, if you are really interested in this topic, then you will be well served if you check out recent issues of the journal Conservation Biology (note that to read articles you will need to be connected to the UConn system).
Course objectives: In general, my goal is to provide you with a basic understanding of the scientific field of conservation biology and the application of science to solving conservation problems. If you are just taking this course out of general interest, then hopefully it will provide you with a sense of how the biological sciences can be applied and will give you a better understanding of the main issues in conservation biology. For those of you wishing to pursue a career in conservation biology, I hope that this course will give you a solid foundation on which to build with future courses (e.g., EEB 310). If this is your goal, I’d also encourage you to check out EEB’s joint BS/MS program in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. There are also links to good sites for finding internships and jobs (short-term and permanent) in conservation biology on the course web site.
Schedule of Lectures and Examinations (subject to change)
Detailed notes for each lecture are linked to the topic titles in the syllabus below. Reading these notes before each lecture should help you follow the material. These notes are not intended to be a substitute for the textbook readings or for coming to lectures and relying only on the notes will likely result in a lower grade.
** Means that there is important supplemental reading from the primary literature that we will discuss in class (yes, you really do need to read it as I will be picking people in class to talk about the paper). Links to the relevant papers can be accessed by clicking on the ** below on the syllabus. These links might not work if you are not using a computer that connects to the UConn network. It is possible to connect your home computers to the network by going to this site and signing in using your netID.
In the syllabus I have also noted special lectures (in green) that will take place on campus this semester and that will help you to do well in this course.
|1||23 Jan||What is conservation biology?||Chapter 1||Grading policies|
|2||28 Jan||Interpreting statistics (when there’s an agenda)||Chapter 6|
|3||30 Jan||Global change||pp. 205-212 **|
|4||4 Feb||Forms of biological diversity||Chapter 2|
|5||6 Feb||Patterns of biodiversity||Chapter 3 **|
|7 Feb||TEALE LECTURE: Brewing biodiversity: the ecology of coffee farms in Chiapas, Mexico (Ivette Perfecto)||4:00PM, Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center|
|6||11 Feb||Extinction rates||Chapter 7|
|7||13 Feb||Patterns of extinction||Chapter 8 **|
|8||18 Feb||Causes of population decline||Study lectures 1-8|
|20 Feb||Exam 1||Sample questions|
|9||25 Feb||Habitat loss & degradation||Chapter 9|
|10||27 Feb||Over-exploitation||Chapter 10 **|
|11||3 Mar||Invasive species||Chapter 10|
|12||5 Mar||Disease||Chapter 10 **|
|10 Mar||No Class: SPRING BREAK||Next discussion paper||.. which is long!|
|12 Mar||No Class: SPRING BREAK|
|13||17 Mar||Small population conservation||Chapter 11 **|
|14||19 Mar||Population viability analysis||Chapter 12|
|20 Mar||TEALE LECTURE: Hope in a dark time: The promises of religious environmentalism (Roger Gottlieb)||4:00PM, Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center|
|15||24 Mar||PVA (cont.); includes simulation example||pp. 302-320, Ch. 13 **|
|16||26 Mar||Conservation genetics||Chapter 14|
|17||31 Mar||Ex situ conservation, release programs||Study lectures 9-17|
|2 Apr||Exam 2||Sample questions|
|18||7 Apr||Conservation reserves||Chapter 15|
|19||9 Apr||Reserve networks||Chapter 16|
|10 Apr||TEALE LECTURE: This Earth, Our Mother (Joseph Bruchac)||4:00PM, Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center|
|20||14 Apr||Conservation in the matrix||Chapter 18 **|
|21||16 Apr||Management||Chapter 17|
|22||21 Apr||Habitat restoration; Papers due||Chapter 19 **|
|23||23 Apr||Economics of conservation||Chapters 4, 5|
|24||28 Apr||Conservation law||Chapter 20 **|
|25||30 Apr||International legislation||Chapter 21, 22|
For information about EEB's Joint B.S./M.S. degree program in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology click here
For information about the Society for Conservation Biology click here
For information on jobs in conservation biology click here
For information on jobs in wildlife biology click here