BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION BIOLOGY
2013/2014, Semester 1
University Scholars Programme (University Scholars Programme)
Modular Credits: 4
ULS2204 Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
Dr. David Bickford, Assistant Professor
S14 Level 6, Room 6 Office Hours by appointment
Ph: 6516 2858 (office)
Lecture: Tuesdays 12 noon – 2pm (SR 1)
Tutorials: Group 1: Fridays 12 noon – 2pm (SR 1)
Group 2: Fridays 4 – 6pm (SR 1)
Course Content - The main topics to be covered in this module:
Week One 13 Aug. General Introduction, expectations, goals. Lecture on LEGACIES; Human Connection to Nature; Origins of the term “biodiversity”; Trends that led to awareness; Rio Earth Summit - Johannesburg; Current status of the planet.
Tutorial: Background reading and review of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
Week Two 20 Aug. WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY; Levels of organization in Nature; Biodiversity from genes to ecosystems; Species diversity; what is a species?; Discuss papers/projects/fieldtrips.
Tutorial: Reading “Educating a Constituency for the Long Haul”, discussion of eco-literacy, NUS/Singaporean education, intro to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, general discussion; “Slow Knowledge” Author: David W. Orr, Source: Conservation Biology, Vol. 10, No. 3, (1996), pp. 699-702; and “Human Domination of Earth's Ecosystems” by Peter M. Vitousek, et al., Science 277, 494-499 (1997), overview of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and discussion of latest news articles;
Week Three 27 Aug. ORIGINS OF DIVERSITY; Prehistoric patterns; Geography of life; Current patterns; Biogeography; Distribution of species; biodiversity hot spots.
Tutorial: Biogeography and conservation biology, biodiversity gradients and hotspots: Reading Myers, et al. (2000). “Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities” from Nature, 403, 853-858; and Cincotta, et al. (2000). “Human population in the biodiversity hotspots” from Nature, 404: 990-992; and W. Renema, et al. (2008). “Hopping Hotspots: Global Shifts in Marine Biodiversity” from Science, 321: 654-657; and Sodhi, et al. (2004). “Southeast Asian biodiversity: an impending disaster” from Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19: 654-660; Discuss Singapore & Southeast Asia in terms of biodiversity hot spots and biological conservation efforts; Triage approach to conservation;
Week Four 3 Sep. Maintainance of Diversity.
Dynamics of species distribution in time and space; How many species are there?; Processes that maintain biodiversity (Evolution).
Tutorial: “A safe operating space for humanity”, by Johan Rockström, et al.,
461, 472-475 (2009); The Tragedy of the Commons , by G. Hardin, Science 162, 1243-1248 (1968); Discussion
Week Five 10 Sept. E-learning Week.
VALUE OF BIODIVERSITY; Role of values; Ecological Economics; Direct and Indirect Values; Sustainability – long term; Environmental Ethics; Whose biodiversity is it anyway? ; Media: Friend or Foe; Deep Ecology.
Tutorial: Ethics & biodiversity conservation; Walker, B. H. (1992) Biodiversity and ecological redundancy. Conservation Biology, 6, 18-23; Ehrlich, P.R., H. A. Mooney. (1983). Extinction, substitution, and ecosystem services. BioScience 33, 248-254; and discussion of latest news articles;
Week Six 17 Sept. Dr. Madhu Rao *Guest Lecture* on Real World Conservation
Tutorial: Role-Playing Scenario - real world conservation
Week Seven 1 Oct. : Mid-Term Exam
Tutorial: Overview of Mid-Term exam and questions. Review of the main issues; clarify confusion.
Week Eight 8 Oct. THREATS; Human population; Habitat and Fragmentation; Degradation and Pollution; Climate Change; Overexploitation; Invasive species.
Tutorial: Simberloff, D. & Von Holle, B. (1999). Positive interactions of nonindigenous species: invasional meltdown? Biological Invasions, 1, 21-32; Tilman, D., May, R.M., Lehman, C.L., Nowak, M.A. (1994) Habitat destruction and the extinction debt. Nature 371, 65-66; Mace, G.M. & Lande, R. (1991). Assessing extinction threats: toward a re-evaluation of IUCN threatened species categories. Conservation Biology, 51, 148-157; news – Davis et al., 2011 paper;
Week Nine 15 Oct. EXTINCTION; Definition; Rates; Risks Vulnerability – IUCN; Problems of small populations, MPV; Vortex phenomena.
Tutorial: Shaffer, M.L. (1981). Minimum population sizes for species conservation. BioScience 31, 131–134; Brook, B.W., N.S. Sodhi & C.J.A. Bradshaw. 2008. Synergies among extinction drivers under global change. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 23:453-460; and discussion of latest news articles;
Week Ten 22 Oct. CONSERVATION; ARTICULATING GOALS AND SETTING PRIORITIES; Populations; Species; Ecosystems.
Week Eleven 29 Oct. APPLICATIONS AND SOLUTIONS; In Situ and Ex Situ; Protected Areas; Designing; Establishing; Managing; SLOSS theory.
Tutorial: Miller, J.R. 2005. Biodiversity conservation and the extinction of experience. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol 20: 430-434; Dunn RR, Gavin MC, Sanchez MC, Solomon JN. 2006. The pigeon paradox: dependence of global conservation on urban nature. Conserv Biol. 20:1814-6;
and discussion of latest news articles;
Week Twelve 4 Nov. REAL WORLD; Conservation outside protected areas; Public and private lands; Human-dominated landscapes.
Tutorial: The Tragedy of the Commons , by G. Hardin, Science 162, 1243-1248 (1968); Discussion;
Last Week 11 Nov. FUTURE DIRECTIONS; Sustainable Development; Conservation Education; Individuals and Society; Linking conservation ethics to our daily lives.
Singapore Botanical Gardens: August 17th and 24th at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. 7:30am – 12 noon. Meet at the MRT station at Botanical Gardens.
International Coastal Clean-up: 21 September at Pulau Ubin. 7am – 1pm (possibly back earlier). Bus pick-up at Cinnamon College street level 7am SHARP.
TBD - another natural area or ex-situ site field trip (replaces Raffles Museum trip this year)
Essay + Research paper (on Book+solution = linking your personal motivation with biodiversity conservation) – Feedback deadline = 21 Sept. Beefy outline with references and big ideas is fine. Absolute final version deadline 1st of November.
Mid-term: October 2nd
Final: November 25th
List of recommended books for reports and small group concentrations:
The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living – by Fritjof Capra
Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators – by William Stolzenburg
The Song of the Dodo – by David Quammen
The Post Carbon Reader – by Richard Heinberg
A Guide for the Perplexed – by E. F. Schumacher
Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry – by Stacy Malkan
What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism – by Fred Magdoff
The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology – by Theodore Roszak;
The Wealth of Nature – by John Michael Greer
Merchants of Doubt – by Naomi Oreskes
Tropical Nature – by Adrian Forsyth
Rewilding the World – by Caroline Fraser
Thriving Beyond Sustainability – by Andres R. Edwards
The Failure of Environmental Education (And How We Can Fix It) – by Charles Saylan
Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature – by David Quammen
The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age – by Nathan Wolfe
Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey, and the Changing Dynamics of Nature – by John Terborgh
Earth in Mind – by David Orr
Ecology of Commerce – by Paul Hawken
Deep Economy – by Bill McKibben
The Omnivore’s Dilemma – by Michael Pollan
Degrees that Matter – by Rappaport and Creighton
Ecological Literacy – by Stone and Barlow
Animal Vegetable Miracle – by Barbara Kingsolver
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things – by McDonough and Braungart
The Future of Life – by Edward O. Wilson
Hot, Flat, and Crowded – by Thomas Friedman
The World Without Us – by Alan Weisman
Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change -– by Elizabeth Kolbert
The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World – by Paul Roberts
When the Rivers Run Dry: Water-The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century – by Fred Pearce
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution – by Hawken, Lovins, and Lovins
The End of Nature – by Bill McKibben
Spillover - by David Quammen
Silent Spring – by Rachel Carson (with E.O. Wilson’s preface)