When you graduate, you’ll have developed an in-depth knowledge of the science and practice of biodiversity conservation – equipping you with the skills required for a career in this area.
Situated on the Dorset coast, at BU we are within easy reach of outstanding environments of global importance for conservation, including the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Wessex Downs, Dorset Heaths, Poole Harbour and New Forest. The area is a hotspot for biodiversity and provides outstanding opportunities for field-based learning.
The teaching staff are specialists in biodiversity conservation. They research conservation issues both nationally and internationally in a wide range of ecosystems including grassland, heathland, forest, freshwater, coastal, and marine. Their specialisms include plant, animal and community ecology, animal behaviour, environmental statistics, modelling, remote sensing and environmental policy.
The degree is also now accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, the professional body representing ecologists and environmental managers in the UK and overseas.
A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in a required subject.
Required subjects include: Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Earth & Geographical Sciences, Conservation Biology, Ecology & Wildlife Conservation.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.
Conservation in Practice: Field trips, discussion groups and guest speakers combine to cover the scientific knowledge and principles relating to the structure and function of ecosystems, and how these can be applied to the management, conservation and restoration of biodiversity.
Field Ecology Skills: Develop field observation and survey techniques that will equip you with skills that are relevant to professional biodiversity conservation, monitoring and research. You will explore how such skills may be applied to support practical conservation management. Based around a field course, you will develop your skills in a variety of terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments, supported by seminars and demonstrations.
Frontiers in Biodiversity: Explore the latest theories and concepts in conservation science, develop in-depth subject specialism as well as advanced literature-based research and reporting skills. This unit will be delivered as a series of group discussions, at which guided reading will be critically evaluated. You will also be required to undertake literature evaluation tasks as individuals and sub-groups, including class presentations.
Quantitative & Spatial Analysis: Core skills for environmental scientists in data handling, processing, statistical techniques and spatial analysis (GIS) are taught on this unit. You will learn these techniques through the industry standard programming and statistical environment of R.
Research Project: Develop your expertise in research methods, data collection, analysis, interpretation and synthesis and explore in detail core aspects of your subject area, with a view to generating new practical or theoretical insights. You will develop methodological, research, presentation skills and advanced communication skills by producing an extensive dissertation or report on your research.
Advanced Quantitative & Spatial Methods: Giving you advanced data analysis skills, we will ensure you have an understanding of advanced contemporary statistical methods that will allow you to select and apply appropriate analytical techniques when working with complex data sets. A tool kit of analytical methods that may be used in a broad spectrum of research projects will be demonstrated and illustrated using real world examples. Methods taught will range from data visualisation through to contemporary model-based analyses, multivariate techniques and spatial statistics. Emphasis will be placed on choosing the most appropriate analysis for the available data, in order to ensure scientific rigor in the presentation of research results.
Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services: This unit will examine the scientific principles relating to the provision of ecosystem of services, their linkage with ecosystem function, and the relationships with biodiversity. Key ecosystem services that will be considered include provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as flood and disease control; cultural services such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; and supporting services such as nutrient cycling. The unit will examine how the production of ecosystem services can be measured and mapped; the distribution of beneficiaries; different approaches to valuation; and potential links with the green economy. Key emerging issues include potential trade-offs between different ecosystem services, and between ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Conservation Genetics: This unit covers conservation genetic principals. You will learn the principals behind the genetic management of small populations and how to use molecular techniques to conserve populations and/or species.
International Law of the Environment: International law of the environment is a comparatively new field of international law. It has seen a rapid evolution over the past 30 years, as a result of the widespread recognition that many environmental problems must be addressed at the international level if satisfactory solutions are to be found. This unit will examine the particular sectors of environmental policy that are the subject of international legal regulation and obligations. This will involve an appraisal of how international legal regulation has developed in these areas, taking into account various challenges, legal and political, that have been influential in shaping their respective evolution. It will also focus on selected legal topics concerning the implementation of international environmental law. In particular, it will consider various relatively recent developments in international environmental law that have served to broaden participation beyond the level of the nation state as regards the monitoring and enforcement of international environmental protection obligations.
Primate Behaviour & Ecology: You will gain an understanding of how the behaviour of humans and other primates can be interpreted from an evolutionary viewpoint, and how their behavioural strategies are adapted to the environment (social and ecological) in which they live. The sessions are aimed at stimulating discussion and the critical analysis of the latest research in the fields of primatology and evolutionary psychology. Through the assessment you learn how to convey scientific information to the general public as well as an academic audience in order to train your professional skills.
This course prepares you for a career in the commercial and statutory environmental sectors. Its strong emphasis on core skills in environmental practice gives students the edge when seeking employment. On completing the course not only will you have subject expertise but you will know how to apply that knowledge to make a difference in biodiversity conservation. By offering one of the leading courses in biodiversity conservation, our aspiration is that it will provide you with a route to a successful and rewarding career.
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