Introduction to Conservation Biology

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EEB 2208 (208) Introduction to Conservation Biology: Spring 2008

Under construction.png 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.

Credits: 3

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)

Overall 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.

Lecture Date Topic Reading Announcements
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
Final exam Cumulative

Other information

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