Subject: Conservation Biology

Scientific Area:



62 Hours

Number of ECTS:




Overall objectives:

1 - OA1- To understand the evolutionary and ecological principles underlying biological diversity.
2 - OA2- Understand and recognize the threats to biodiversity, and consequences of biodiversity loss
3 - OA3- Identify and recognize the conservation problems at various levels of biological scale (from genes to landscape) and geographic scale (from local to global)
4 - OA4- Understand how ecological and evolutionary principles and methods are applied to solve conservation problems
5 - OA5- Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the course to assess, analyze and define the conservation problems, solutions and actions
6 - Skills to be acquired by the Student: Ability of students to express themselves in a suitable language for the specific area of the course
7 - Skills to be acquired by the Student: Capacity of Analysis and Synthesis
8 - Skills to be acquired by the Student: Critical thinking and organization of ideas


1 - 1. Biodiversity value
2 - 2. Composition, structure and function of Biodiversity
3 - 3. Taxonomy vs Nature conservation
4 - 4. Evolution, Ecology of Biodiversity
5 - 5. Threats to biodiversity. Extinction and vulnerability of species. Red books. IUCN categories of threat
6 - 6. Genetics and conservation of populations. Techniques for assessing genetic variation. Loss of genetic variation. Phylogenetics. Population Genetics. Management of genetic variation
7 - 7. Conservation at the level of populations, communities and ecosystems. Demography and population dynamics. Key species, flagship species and umbrella species in the definition of conservation strategies. Viability of populations. Changes in ecosystems and habitats. Management of Species and Habitats
8 - 8. Objectives, criteria and management of protected areas
9 - 9. Restoration and rehabilitation of ecosystems and species
10 - 10. The national and international legislation. Environmental impact studies
11 - 11. Conservation vs ethics vs economics and sustainable development


TILMAN, D. , 2000 , Causes, consequences and ethics of biodiversity , Nature
SUTHERLAND, W. , 1998 , Conservation science and action , Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
PRIMACK, R. , 2002 , Essentials of Conservation Biology , Sinauer associates, Sunderland
MILLS, S. , 2006. , Conservation of Wildlife Populations: Demography, Genetics and Management. , Wiley­-Blackwell.
MACE, G. , 2004 , The role of taxonomy in species conservation. , Phyl. Trans R. Soc. Lond B
HILL, D. et al. , 2005 , Handbook of biodiversity methods: survey, evaluation and monitoring. , Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.
GROOM, M. et al. , 2006 , Principles of Conservation Biology , Sinauer associates, Sunderland.
´FRANKHAM, R. et al. , 2002 , Introduction to conservation genetics. , Cambridge University Press
FIEDLER, P. JAIN, J. , 1992 , Conservation Biology. The Theory and Pratice of Nature Conservation, Preservation and Management. , Chapman and Hall.

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
Lectures: Lectures are predominantly expository, where the concepts, principles and methods of conservation biology are considered, recapitulating and integrating the knowledge obtained from other earlier curricular units, namely Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Genetics. Theoretical-­practical classes: In these classes, particular cases will be discussed and various texts/articles will be considered, encouraging discussion and critical thinking. Exercises on various aspects including the quantification of various parameters that can define the state of conservation taking into account the various criteria will be performed. Action plans for concrete or simulated cases will be developed. Fieldwork: In these classes, students will observe in situ, various projects and programs of nature conservation and/or will collect data to treat and use in defining plans/programs of conservation. Evaluation: 2 tests (30% each) and a group work with report and presentation (30 +10%).