Module DXX-3510:
Advances in Conservation

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Julia Patricia Gordon Jones

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to give students an advanced understanding of current challenges in wildlife conservation, and how conservation science is contributing to efforts to address them. While the lectures and seminars will encourage the students to engage with a range of topics in some depth, the individual in-depth report allows them the opportunity for a very deep exploration of a topic of their choice. For the in-depth report they will draw on and critically synthesise a range of literature.

Course content

After the introductory lecture, the module will consist of a series of six lectures with an associated seminar (based on set reading). Topics which may be covered include the following (topics will vary year to year): 1) Behaviour change and conservation (as applied to the illegal wildlife trade, behaviour of visitors to National Parks in the US, other consumer choices relevant to conservation). 2) Impact evaluation: what works in wildlife conservation, and how do we know? (This will cover the concept of evidence-based conservation, and approaches which can be used for robust impact evaluation). 3) Infrastructure development and biodiversity. (We will review the growth of infrastructure here in the UK and around the world and how it is impacting wildlife, we will explore the role of regulation and voluntary standards, the use of the mitigation hierarchy and biodiversity offsets to tackle biodiversity loss, and how the rise of china and the ‘belt and road initiative’ is changing things). 4) The role of new technology in wildlife conservation science and practice (we will explore the increasing use of camera trapping, remote sensing, drones and DNA analysis in monitoring populations and law enforcement, including addressing some of the ethical implications). 5) International biodiversity treaties (we will explore the role of the international conventions in driving wildlife conservation across the world, with a particular focus on the UK’s role). 6) The arguments for and against trophy hunting as a conservation tool. 7) Rewilding (What it really means, how novel is it, and can it truly be achieved?) Students will submit a brief summary of their learning from the topic seminars. There will be two opportunities to hand these. Students will get feedback before the second hand-in date so they can improve their style. Students can submit between four and six in total and their best four marks will count. There will be an optional session early in the term where students can get feedback on the early summaries submitted. Students will spend significant time working individually on their in-depth report. There will be tutorials available with the module organiser to help students improve the depth of their literature search, the structure of their argument and the use of the literature etc.

Assessment Criteria

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.

threshold

Grade D- to D+ Aware of the key principles underlying the science. Pass level in in-depth report. Basic competence demonstrated in abstracts.

C- to C+

Grade C- to C+ Better understanding of the material. Competent demonstration of the understanding and use of the literature in in-depth report. Abstracts lack clarity and depth.

Learning outcomes

  1. A deep understanding of a range of current issues in conservation science, policy and practice

  2. An ability to use the academic literature to critically explore a current conservation issue in depth (and reference the literature appropriately).

  3. 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.

  4. The ability to summarise information based on a range of sources to produce a concise, critical and informative written summary.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
REPORT office use only

The best marks from the 4 seminar briefs submitted is entered here

40
ESSAY in-depth report

[the full rubric is to be developed] Students will write an in-depth report in the style of an essay for the journal Conservation Biology. Essay (however with a word limit of 3000 words plus references). Essays in Conservation Biology are: “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.”

60
REPORT Seminar brief 1

Students will write a brief (350 word) summary of the seminars. In total there are six seminars and they can submit summaries of as many of these as they like and their best four [two] marks will count. The summaries should not have references but should draw on a range of the material and sources presented in each seminar. Students will get feedback on any submitted on the 1st date before the hand in date for the next seminar briefs. For example, if a student submitted all three possible briefs at the 1st date and were happy with their mark, they could hand in just one on the second date. However if they want to improve their style based on feedback, they could chose to submit all three possible briefs at the second date too. Their best four marks could count.

0
REPORT Seminar briefs 2

Students will write a brief (350 word) summary of the seminars. In total there are six seminars and they can submit summaries of as many of these as they like and their best four marks will count. The summaries should not have references but should draw on a range of the material and sources presented in each seminar. Students will get feedback on any submitted on any briefs submitted for seminar briefs 1 before the hand in date for seminar briefs 2. For example, if a student submitted all three possible briefs on seminar briefs 1 and were happy with their mark, they could hand in just one for seminar briefs 2. However if they want to improve their style based on feedback, they could chose to submit all three possible briefs at the second date too. Their best four marks across both seminar brief assessments would count.

0

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Students will have reading to do to prepare for each seminar. They will also need to work hard summarising the information provided in each session for the briefs. Finally, they will need to spend significant time working on their individual topic for the in-depth report. This will require a lot of reading and detailed research.

166
Tutorial

I will hold a session for giving feedback on the first (formative) seminar brief they will write.

I will then hold regular tutorials and drop in sessions for students working on their in-depth reports.

14
Lecture

Lectures will introduce the course and assessments and will introduce each of the seminar topics (giving the broader context).

7
Study group

I will timetable a time and place for students to meet to discuss their in-depth reports. I will be available during the time and drop in from time to time to facilitate discussion if it is helpful.

7
Seminar

I will deliver 6 topic-based seminars. Students will be set reading in advance and I will facilitate a discussion based on the reading.

6

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • PS1 Communication skills, covering both written and oral communication with a variety of audiences
  • PS2 Skills in the employment of common conventions and standards in scientific writing, data presentation, and referencing literature
  • PS5 Information location and retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, and the ability to assess the quality of information accessed
  • PS8 Time management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective ways of working
  • PS11 Problem-solving skills including the demonstration of self-direction, initiative and originality
  • PS6 Information technology skills which support the location, management, processing, analysis and presentation of scientific information
  • PS14 Independent learning skills required for continuing professional development

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: