Applying Ecology (Conservation and Management of Populations) 4A option BIOL4005

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the complexities of the extinction rate in nature and the link between population processes and conservation and management problems. As the current extinction rate in nature exceeds the "natural" rate considerably, it is important that students in whole organism biology are aware of the reasons for this, as well as of the tools to conserve and manage natural populations. 


This option is assigned to block S2-A. All teaching sessions take place on Monday, normally comprising 2 hours of teaching each week with additional practicals some weeks. The assessed Oral Presentations may be on other weekdays.

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in a Degree Group A (Animal Biology group) programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the School of Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the Course Coordinator. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (70%) and in-course assessment consisting of an oral presentation (20%) and a reflective writing exercise (10%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims are: 

■ To equip students with a fundamental understanding of the link between population processes (that govern its size) and conservation and management problems; 

■ To provide advanced knowledge of basic population processes as well as tools available for population management and conservation; 

■ To foster appreciation of the complexity of details in real life conservation and management problems as well as to the underlying similarities and common themes in population management across taxa. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Discuss a range of topical subjects relevant to practical conservation issues; 

■ Evaluate the threats to a given population in nature; 

■ Explain the basic population processes underlying changes in population size; 

■ Discuss the methods involved in estimating population size; 

■ Reflect on developing their understanding of a specific case study;

■ Appraise the merits of different population management tools (such as population viability analysis) and approaches (such as experimenting and modelling) in addressing real conservation and management problems.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.