Conservation Biology

University of Newcastle

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Conservation Biology

  • Host University

    University of Newcastle

  • Location

    Newcastle, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Sustainability

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    ENVS2006 Ecology & Management of Australian Fauna (previously EMGT2050) and ENVS2004 Ecology (previously BIOL2070)

    Field Study: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory safety and fieldwork induction.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    The principles of nature conservation and the paradigm of global biodiversity, comprise the core of this course. The past and present impacts of developments upon Australian biota and ecosystems is examined and the implications for the management of natural systems and wildlife are analysed. The statutory requirements of an Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) as applied to flora and fauna will be studied, as will the specific requirements of a Fauna Impact Assessment (FIS). The biological processes that provide the theoretical basis for these acts will be studied by reference to case studies and ecological principles.
    1. The scope of biodiversity, including species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity
    2. Assessment of species diversity. Rapid assessment techniques, strengths and weakness of concepts such as, guilds, keystone species, indicator species and species diversity indices
    3. Concepts dealing with impacts on individual species and communities such as inertia, resilience and stability of populations
    4. Population viability analysis
    5. Measures of genetic diversity. Conservation genetic principles relating to reduced population numbers, founder effect, genetic drift, heterozygosity and variability, stochastic events, origins of genetic diversity, inbreeding depression and outbreeding depression
    6. Consequences of reduced population size on behavioural patterns, genetics and demographics of organisms
    7. Habitat fragmentation and the spatial effects of developments. Edge effects, isolation of populations, corridors and barriers to movement and migration
    8. Population declines and extinction. Deterministic explanations of extinctions and their consequences
    9. Determination of appropriate steps to be taken in dealing with conservation management situations
    10. Sourcing and collating appropriate information
    11. Conducting minimum viable population analyses
    12. Collecting demographic data of significance to assessing the status of a species or population;
    13. Measuring in specific cases fitness of a population
    14. Achieving a high level of effective written and oral communication skills
    15. Working as the member of team, understanding the importance of roles, effective communication, time planning and individual responsibilities
    Within-population measures of genetic variation. The consequences for heterozygosity, genetic drift, and inbreeding accompanying severe population reductions.
    Measures of fitness. Recognition of endangered species. Although it is tempting to manage endangered populations for enhancement of genetic variation, the causal links between heterozygosity and fitness are difficult to establish.
    Behavioural and demographic concerns should also be addressed.
    Natural reserve selection and management.
    Ecological and genetic methods used to identify major sources of regional phylogeographic diversity around which management guidelines and natural reserves might be established.
    Stock structure analysis. In particular applications to fishing industries and harvesting of native (free ranging) organisms.
    International guidelines of environmental impact assessments (flora and fauna). International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Guidelines for;
    Reintroduction and translocations; Exclosure; Wildlife diseases;
    Identification of problems facing wildlife managers. Wildlife management and management of small populations. Sustainable use of wildlife.
    Role of the community in wildlife conservation. Restoration of disturbed habitats.
    Development of policy and planning for implementation: Fauna Impact Statements, and Plans of Management.
    Field techniques relevant to issues described above, and relating to current industrial, urban and agricultural activities (mining, forestry, water resource management, agriculture, urban expansion).
    Consideration of special project management issues relating to wildlife and conservations programs. Identification of project goals, targets, problems, key decisions and role of various agencies, local government, State government departments, Commonwealth agencies, in project planning.
    Introduction to modern planning methods, including the use of spatial information systems and relational databases in project design, assessment and monitoring.
    Management of environmental data and information flow.
    Principles of organisational structure and management as applied to wildlife conservation and environmental projects.
    Participation: Field Work Participation
    Report: Major Report
    Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Computer Assignment
    Formal Examination: Examination

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.