Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of the course is to provide the basic of knowledge on problems that afflict both biological diversity and ecosystems, and provide the most recent tools for their conservation and management. At the end of the course the student should be able to achieve the following goals:
D1. Knowledge and understanding
comprehension understand and know 1) the fundamental functions of the living and their interactions at levels of increasing complexity, 2) relationships between organisms and the environment, 3) relationships between organisms at different levels of organization Biological and 4) between the different levels of biological organization and environmental sustainability. Awareness of the role of the conservationist biologist in the preservation of species and natural ecosystems
D2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
apply the mathematical, statistical and basic informatics methods for the analysis and elaboration of information, biological and environmental data. Recognition of the most common animal and plant forms and identification of their trophic role. Understand in English language topics of ecology and biological preservation.
D3. Autonomy of judgement
evaluate and interpret the experimental data. Critically use data from the scientific literature. Evaluate the computational and experimental methodologies that allow the optimal resolution of a biological/ecological problem. Evaluate teaching.
D4. Communicative ability to exhibit the results of biological/ecological studies even to an unskilled public.
D5. Learning skills participate in seminars and training days. To acquire a methodology of study that allows the continuation of the university formation. To reach the skills required to enter into professional activities at the end of the three-year course.
It is necessary to have obtained basic knowledge of Botany, Ecology, Genetics, Zoology.
Course contents summary
Biological conservation concepts
The value of biological diversity
Threats to biological diversity
Conservation at the population level
Conservation at the community/ecosystem level
Part I: Introduction
Populations, resources, deterioration of the environment and pollution
Cultural changes, Sustainable development and biological diversity
Part II: Biological conservation concepts
Biological conservation, biological diversity
Conservation and evolution: the extinction process
Part III: The value of biological diversity
Direct and indirect economic values of diversity
The ethical value of biological diversity
Part IV: Threats to biological diversity
Loss of biological diversity: past rates of extinction, human-caused extinctions, island
biogeography and modern extinction rates, local extinctions
Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation
Forest fragmentation and conservation of biological diversity
Habitat fragmentation in the temperate zone
Exotic species introdutions, disease, and overexploitation
Endemic species, the legal status of rare species
Vulnerability to extinction
Part V: Conservation at the population level
The problems of small populations: loss of genetic variability, demographic variation,
environmental variation, extinction vortices
Population biology of endangered species
Ex situ conservation strategies
Establishing new populations
Part VI: Conservation at the community/ecosystem
Methods for establishing, designing, and managing protected areas
Conservation and human societies: current state of species and habitats protection
Lecture notes of the teacher. The teacher suggests also the following books:
Miller G.T., 1997. Ambiente, Risorse, Sostenibilità. Piccin, Padova.
Primack R.B., 2003. Conservazione della natura. Zanichelli, Bologna.
Lectures with the aid of video projections; exercises and examples.
Assessment methods and criteria
The verification of the attainment of the learning objectives takes place through verifications in Itinere, in the form of questions posed to the students ' stalls during the lesson.
The final test is written. The test, lasting 1 hour, provides 15 open questions, including 1 exercise. The final vote derives from the summation of the scores obtained for each question (maximum 2 points per question). The results of the exam are published on the portal Esse3 within one week from the date of examination. Students can view the exam by appointment with the teacher.