Advances in Conservation
Advances in Conservation 2023-24
School of Environmental & Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 2
The aim of this module is to give you an advanced understanding of the current challenges in wildlife conservation, and how conservation science is contributing to efforts to address them. While the lectures and seminars will encourage you to engage with a range of topics, the in-depth report allows you the opportunity for a very deep exploration of a topic of your choice for which you will draw on and critically synthesize a range of literature. Through tutorials and feedback on written work you will also improve your written communication skills.
How do I do well in the course? Engage from the start, get to know your classmates (you will learn a lot from each other), sign-up for study groups and associated group presentations.
After the introductory lecture, the module will consist of six topics which we will look at in detail. For each there will be a seminar led by the module organizer, and an associated student-led seminar based on reading which I will assign. Associated with each student-led seminar there is a timetabled study group to make it easier for you to find time to work together as a group to plan the presentations you will give in the student-led seminars.
Students will submit brief summaries of their learning from 3 topic of their choice (based on the material presented in both the staff-led and the student-led seminar). The main challenge here is summarizing so much information very tightly. Students have the opportunity to submit a summary and get feedback before the final submission. There will be a session part way through the term where students will get feedback on the summaries submitted so they can improve their style. In the second part of the course students will spend most of their time working individually on their in-depth report. These have a limit of 1500 words. There will be tutorials available with the module organiser to help students improve their use of the literature and the structure of their argument.
-threshold -Grade D- to D+ Aware of the key principles underlying the science. Pass level in the in-depth report. Basic competence demonstrated in abstracts.
-Grade C- to C+ Better understanding of the material. Competent demonstration of understanding and use of the literature in the in-depth report. Abstracts lack clarity and depth.
-good -B- to B+ A good understanding of the issues covered. A clearly written and professionally presented in-depth report which covers a range of appropriate literature in some depth. A good brief overview of seminars produced showing good understanding.
-excellent -A- to A** An excellent understanding of the issues covered. A very clearly written and professionally presented in-depth report which covers an excellent range of appropriate literature in depth. An excellent overview of seminars produced showing very good understanding, clearly and concisely summarized.
- A deep understanding of a range of current issues in conservation science, policy and practice
- An ability to use the academic literature to critically explore a current conservation issue in depth (and reference the literature appropriately).
- The ability to summarise information based on a range of sources to produce a concise, critical and informative written summary.
- The ability to write a professional, critical and well-referenced report (in the style of an 'essay' in the journal Conservation Biology) on a current conservation issue of their choice.
In-depth report Purpose of assignment: To help you develop a deep understanding of a specific issue in conservation science and how it relates to policy or practice while developing your written skills and ability to use the literature appropriately. Instructions: Please write an in-depth report in the style of an ‘essay’ in the journal Conservation Biology on any topic of your choice with relevance to conservation science. There is a strict 2000 word limit for this exercise (excluding the literature cited and any figures or tables but including in-test citations). Please give the word count at the end of your work. Please agree your topic with the module organiser before starting work. There are some simple guides to writing essays in the web. Do read some example essays in the journal Conservation Biology to prepare. What you are aiming for (from the journal website) is: “Essays on novel issues in the natural or social sciences important to conservation science and practice; grounded in evidence from the literature, policy, or legal documents; typically relevant beyond a single case study; and that propose evidence-based solutions to problems. Well-reasoned and supported submissions that debate alternative perspectives, challenge current paradigms, or advance new conservation-science approaches are encouraged.” Key points for performing well in this essay are: A) It must have a clear introduction which sets up the context, frames the scope of the essay and sign-posts the structure to come. B) It must be clearly structured (sub-headings can help with this) C) It must be properly referenced with all sources referred to in the text and listed in alphabetical order by author at the back (please follow the style of Conservation Biology, using referencing software such as Mendeley can help). D) It must have a clear concluding paragraph which draws the argument together.
Students will write brief (350 word-this is a strict limit, please write your word count at the bottom of your answer) summaries of the topics covered in the course. The summary should be aimed at someone with an understanding of conservation science (e.g. imagine they will be read by a student who has not attended the course but wants to learn its content). In total there are six topics, students need to submit three. The total word count is therefore 1050 but you must not exceed 350 for each topic. The summaries should not have references but should draw on a range of the material presented in each topic. It should be well structured to summarise the topic (i.e. some sort of introduction and drawing together is needed, not unconnected paragraphs). You are writing a summary of the state of knowledge on this topic (as covered by the course), but not a summary of the course. So please do not, for example, start by saying ‘First the lecturer told us about xxxx, then she said xxxxx’. Your aim is to cover the most important content from across the staff-led and student-led seminar and key reading on the topic.
Optional formative submission only. Please submit on topic 1 or 2. Students will write brief (350 word-this is a strict limit, please write your word count at the bottom of your answer) summaries of the topics covered in the course. The summary should be aimed at someone with an understanding of conservation science (e.g. imagine they will be read by a student who has not attended the course but wants to learn its content).