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Conserving Biodiversity in the Anthropocene - BIO00069H

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Calvin Dytham
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This module will address the consequences and challenges generated by the rise of humans for the rest of the biological world, generating a new Anthropocene epoch. These impacts include the extinction and endangerment of species, the conversion of vegetation, forests and the oceans to produce food and other products that we value, the transport of species from one part of the world to another, and human-caused climate change. We may even be entering a 6th mass extinction. Some species have already died out, but many others have thrived during the Anthropocene, so all is not lost. The module uses lectures, workshops and debates to discuss some of the major threats to biodiversity and the challenges we face in developing a ‘good Anthropocene’. It will demonstrate how an understanding of basic ecological principles of community and population ecology is crucial in successful conservation, using case studies from across the world. Writing grants is a key skills for conservation biologists, so we assess this module through a research proposal, with workshops supporting development of this key writing skill.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

Building on the understanding of community and population ecology that students gained through stages 1 and 2, this module aims to equip students with the understanding of the challenges of conserving biodiversity in the Anthropocene that underpins modern conservation. Focussed on the biological principles that explain the biological responses to anthropogenic modification, we aim to equip students with the core knowledge and skills needed to undertake research into biodiversity conservation.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Understand and explain the factors that cause biodiversity change in the Anthropocene.

Access and evaluate literature pertaining to conservation, synthesising understanding to determine conservation priorities

Select and evaluate appropriateness of scientific methods used to study conservation biology

Identify research gaps, develop hypotheses and propose experiments to improve understanding of conservation topics

Discuss and evaluate the evidence underpinning controversial topics.

Develop and write high quality research proposals.


Task Length % of module mark
Research Proposal
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Research Proposal
N/A 100

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For exam-style summative assessment, model answers will be provided for all questions along with cohort-level feedback indicating how students answered questions in general. Marks achieved per question will be added to your script.

For coursework assessments (eg. reports or essays) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.