ENV BIOL 3570 - Advanced Applications in Conservation Biology III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017

This course will use existing theoretical understandings in conservation biology coupled with ecological and evolutionary techniques for management and restoration of natural systems to address wildlife conservation issues. The course will focus primarily on Australian terrestrial systems and cover the effects of introduced herbivores, carnivores, competitors, pathogens, vegetation clearance, habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation, disturbances (e.g. fire) and remedial actions (e.g. revegetation) on flora, fauna and ecological processes (e.g. pollination, gene flow, animal dispersal). Edge effects, corridors, succession, managing declining species, invasive species management, managing abundant species, conservation genetics, wildlife trafficking, biological and mechanical control of unwanted species, rehabilitation of degraded habitats, re-introduction and translocation biology will also be covered. Establishing adequate and effective monitoring programs, reserve design and risk assessment, as well as social and political factors in decision making will provide additional practical elements to the course. Students will be expected to conduct a small group research project on some current conservation issue as part of the course.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ENV BIOL 3570
    Course Advanced Applications in Conservation Biology III
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 12 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites ENV BIOL 2520, ENV BIOL 2510, ENV BIOL 3540
    Incompatible ENV BIOL 3008
    Assumed Knowledge ENV BIOL 2502, ENV BIOL 3121
    Restrictions B.Sc (Wildlife Conservation Biology)
    Course Description This course will use existing theoretical understandings in conservation biology coupled with ecological and evolutionary techniques for management and restoration of natural systems to address wildlife conservation issues. The course will focus primarily on Australian terrestrial systems and cover the effects of introduced herbivores, carnivores, competitors, pathogens, vegetation clearance, habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation, disturbances (e.g. fire) and remedial actions (e.g. revegetation) on flora, fauna and ecological processes (e.g. pollination, gene flow, animal dispersal). Edge effects, corridors, succession, managing declining species, invasive species management, managing abundant species, conservation genetics, wildlife trafficking, biological and mechanical control of unwanted species, rehabilitation of degraded habitats, re-introduction and translocation biology will also be covered. Establishing adequate and effective monitoring programs, reserve design and risk assessment, as well as social and political factors in decision making will provide additional practical elements to the course. Students will be expected to conduct a small group research project on some current conservation issue as part of the course.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor David Paton

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

    1. List, assess and integrate ecological, biological, sociological, legislative and ethical perspectives to advance the management of flora, fauna or ecological processes to conserve wildlife;

    2. Understand the spatial and temporal scales that influence wildlife conservation;

    3. Apply scientific principles and modern technologies to help solve current problems or deficiencies in the management of flora, fauna or ecological processes of benefit to wildlife conservation;

    4. Plan and execute research and monitoring programs that address problems and issues associated with wildlife conservation;

    5. Work co-operatively in small groups and interact with potential clients (e.g. Natural Resource sector personnel); and

    6. Communicate effectively in written and oral formats at the standards expected in the industry.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,2,6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1,2,3,4,6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1,5,6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1,2,3,4,5,6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1,2,3,4,5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1,3,5,6
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The course applies the theory and practice of Conservation Biology to a series of largely Australian case studies delivered by lectures, workshops and project work. An initial series of lectures during the first two weeks of the course will provide the background and context that has led to the current wildlife conservation crisis. This will be followed by six weeks of lectures (2 per week) and extended workshops (2 per week) each focuses on specific wildlife conservation issues. The lectures will introduce students to specific problems and possible solutions. The wildlife conservation issues raised in lectures, their possible solutions and any constraints will then be workshopped interactively with student-led discussion and resolution with guidance from staff and practitioners. The small group research projects will build on the workshops and allow students to apply their skills to a specific wildlife conservation problem also under academic and industry guidance.

    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 6 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 24 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary

    The course will use a series of lectures and associated workshops to introduce students to a suite of conservation-related topics that outline the consequences to Australian wildlife of vegetation clearance, changes in levels and types of herbivory and predation, and changes in human use of natural resources.

    The lectures and associated workshops will outline some of the key advances and practical solutions being developed by conservation biologists in the academic, private and government sectors. In a workshop-style setting, students would work in small groups (4-5 students) collecting relevant readily-available information, applying their understanding of conservation biology and developing potential solutions in small groups which they present back to the class and debate and defend their recommended actions. Lectures and workshops associated with these modules will cover the theoretical, practical and analytical skills needed in biological surveys, wildlife monitoring and biodiversity informatics. Topics within the modules will include restoration techniques, social science and government policy, wildlife reproduction and breeding, and the fundamental ecological and evolutionary principles applied to the management of pests and native wildlife. Students would produce summary reports for three of the workshopped topics.

     

    A major component of this course will require students to undertake a small-group (3-5 students) research project where they will plan and execute a study that addresses a specific conservation-related problem. Where possible these will be linked to issues that DEWNR/ NRM boards wish to have addressed and have an industry person as well as an academic adviser and supervisor. The intention is to have good cross-referencing between the different components of the course with the research projects linking to one or more of the workshop topics. There is also scope to have projects that do not have a field component if required.Components of the small group projects would be assessed as a group (initial report that includes safety and logistics; data base). However, each student would produce an individual report where they will demonstrate their written communication skills in summarising and reporting on findings.

    Specific Course Requirements

    This course requires students to work in small groups (3-5 students) as part of the workshops that examine and assess management options to help solve wildlife conservation problems; and also to work in small groups (3-5 students) to undertake a research project that is likely to require students to undertake multiple days of field work, depending on the project chosen.

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The course contains two types of small group discovery experience. First, students will work in small groups (3-5) to develop ideas, arguments and information to assess options for solving wildlife conservation issues and contribute these to class discussions during workshops that will be mediated by relevant academic staff and practitioners. Membership of individual groups will change regularly. Second, students will work in small groups (3-5 students) to plan and execute a research project that addresses a current issue or deficiency in wildlife conservation under guidance from an appropriate academic staff member.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Percentage of total assessment Hurdle Yes/No Learning Outcome Approximate timing of Assessment
    Project proposal & Presentation Formative & Summative

    10%

    No 1,2,3,4,5,6 Week 2
    Module (workshop) reports (3) Formative & Summative 30% No 1,2,3,4,6 Weeks 5,7,9
    Database Formative & Summative 10% No 3,4,5 Week 11
    Project report & presentation Formative & Summative 30% No 1,2,3,4,5,6 Week 13
    Final exam Summative 20% No 1,2,3,4 Exam period
    Assessment Detail

    Project proposal and presentation (10%, end of week 2)

    The project proposal is a written document that defines the wildlife conservation issue to be addressed, outlines the approach and methods to be used, and provides a detailed logistic plan and risk assessment for any proposed field work. The project components are also presented orally to the rest of the class at the end of the second week within a 10-15 minute allocation of time for each group to present. All of the learning outcomes are addressed in this task. A single group project proposal is submitted and assessed, but the individual contributions to the group’s oral presentation are assessed separately. Half of the marks for this task are allocated to written report and half to the oral presentation.

     

    Workshop module reports (3 x 10%)

    Students will be required to produce three written reports (submitted in week 5, week 7 & week 9) that effectively summarise the outcomes from three of the 12 modules (workshops). The reports will be required to define the issue or problem, outline the contributing factors that were considered in charting a course of action to address the problem, and justify why that course of action or recommendation was made. One report should come from each of the three themes. The reports will include an appendix that lists the extent of interactions within the student’s small group and indicate what components worked and did not work, including share of load and how the interactions could be improved. The length of the reports will vary depending on the modules but should be in the vicinity of 8-10 pages (2,000-3,000 words).These module reports will assess learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6.

     

    Data base design and construction (10%, end of week 11)

    A key industry and scientific requirement is the storage of wildlife data in suitable formats with adequate meta data to explain the structure of the data base and how to use data base to extract information. As students will collect data in small groups, a single data base per group will be compiled, submitted and assessed. Learning outcomes 3, 4 and 5 are being assessed.

     

    Project report and presentation (30%, week 12, 13)

    This report will consist of a 15-20 page (4,000 - 5,000 word) document that summarises the project including the purpose, methods, results, discussion of findings and application of findings to wildlife conservation. Each student produces their own report (submitted in week 13) and is assessed on their contribution to the group’s oral presentation in week 12. The oral presentation is worth 5% and the written report 25% of the course marks. This task assesses all learning outcomes.

     

    Final exam (20%, exam period)

    A two hour exam will be used to assess learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, and 4. The exam will require students to choose two questions (from a choice of questions) where a wildlife conservation problem is outlined. Students then provide a written answer that outlines their approach to addressing the problem.

    Submission

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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