Nature conservation

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The Conservation Biology course aims at providing an introduction to the principles of biological conservation, with special reference to the conservation of ecosystems and wild animals. Using a multidisciplinary approach based on a solid ecological background, the course will focus on the concept of biodiversity and on the anthropogenic impact on the biosphere, with special reference to the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss, both from ecological and evolutionary standpoints.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to acquire the ability to identify and define threats to biodiversity and natural ecosystems, the processes behind conservation threats, and to suggest mitigation actions. In addition, students should acquire the basic concepts of biodiversity inventories. The acquired competences will allow students to suggest and implement informed decisions about wildlife and ecosystem conservation priorities within a framework of rapid ecological transformations due to the increasing anthropogenic pressure on ecosystems.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Lectures will take place online (synchronous modality). Practices will be made in the field. Oral examinations will take place online
Course syllabus
History and aims of conservation biology; human impact on ecosystem functioning and sustainable development - Biodiversity; factors affecting biodiversity and correlates of biodiversity; ecological perturbations and effects on biodiversity; species-area relationships and theory of island biogeography - Species concept; speciation and hints at the theory of evolution - Extinctions: causes and consequences; the IUCN and the Red List - Conservation genetics; inbreeding, drift, bottlenecks, founder effects and consequences for individual fitness - Alien species and invasive species: review, mechanisms, impact - Habitat loss and fragmentation; edge effects; metapopulations - Planning of nature reserves: the Italian network of protected areas and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); efficacy of MPAs in biodiversity conservation - Natura2000 Network and European, Italian and regional directives for biodiversity conservation - Climate change and conservation.
Prerequisites for admission
Students are expected to possess a solid background in basic ecology, evolutionary biology, zoology and genetics. It is strongly suggested that students have taken the exams of Zoology, Genetics, Ecology and Ethology
Teaching methods
Teacher-centred lectures, with slides. It is strongly recommended that the student follows all the lectures.
Teaching Resources
Teaching material available on the ARIEL course's website
Primack RB, Carotenuto L 2003 Conservazione della Natura - Zanichelli
Frankham R, Ballou JD, Briscoe DA 2006. Fondamenti di genetica della conservazione - Zanichelli
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral examination concerning thematics addressed during the lessons
BIO/07 - ECOLOGY - University credits: 6
Practicals with elements of theory: 12 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Rubolini Diego
Educational website(s)