BIOL2261 Conservation Biology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Conservation Biology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This unit aims to develop a critical approach to current issues in conservation biology. It examines the following five broad themes: (1) What biodiversity is there? How did it get there (evolutionary history)? Which processes maintain it? (2) Why should we conserve it? (3) What are the threatened genes, species and communities? (4) What are the threatening processes? (5) What actions can be taken to conserve biodiversity? Students are aware of the fundamental linkages between good science and conservation management and the critical engagement between government, universities, business and the community in generating effective conservation outcomes. The unit also introduces students to fundamental science and scientific thinking and approaches to problem solving in ecology, population genetics, species biology and decision theory that underpin modern conservation biology.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the different concepts of biodiversity (genetic, species and community), the consequences of these concepts for conservation and the evolutionary background of the biodiversity of Australia; (2) understand the reasoning why conserving biodiversity is essential (utilitarian as well as intrinsic values); (3) understand examples of threatened ecosystems and species (both locally as well as globally), their protection by law (national/international); (4) have a thorough understanding of the major processes threatening Australian as well as global biodiversity and the consequences of their interactions; (5) have a good understanding of our current efforts to prevent species and community extinctions (i.e. conservation through reserves, botanical gardens and zoos, restoration and reconciliation ecology), and the role of our economic system in driving conservation decisions and outcomes; (6) locate and critically analyse the available data and literature sources on a particular plant or animal group by writing a team report, as well as an individual case study, and giving a team presentation on the conservation biology of that group; and (7) understand the role and efforts of the major conservation-related organisations in WA (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth Zoo, Australian Wildlife Conservancy).
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) class workshop and case study on a threatened species (individual); (2) report on the conservation management of a plant or animal taxon (group report and presentation); and (3) final examination covering lectures and visit with conservation organisations. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the final examination covering lectures and visit with conservation organisations component.

Supplementary assessment is available in this unit for those students who obtain a mark of at least 45 overall provided they have also obtained a mark of at least 45 in a specified component of the unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Pieter Poot and Dr Nicola Mitchell
Unit rules
BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology (formerly BIOL1130 Core Concepts in Biology)
BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology
Contact hours
Lectures: 2 hours per week; Practical or tutorial sessions: 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.