Biology of Conservation

Academic year
Subject Area
Área Científica do Menor
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Knowledge of Matemathics, Ecology of Populations and Communities and Statistics.

Teaching Methods

The theoretical classes will be given in power-point presentations, and will be conducted to stimulate discussion about the several aspects of biological conservation. Scientific articles will be given and the students must present and discuss them critically in the class.


The theorethical-practical classes include the use of methods to monitor populations, the use of specialised software, preparation of reports, field trips and oral presentation of the action plans for species and habitats.      

Learning Outcomes

In this subject students learn about the compositional, structural and functional aspects of biodiversity, and address the conservation of biological diversity in its components: genetics, species, communities and ecosystems. The main ideas and theories of biological conservation are introduced: values and ethics of conservation biology, threats to biological diversity, conservation at the species and community levels, criteria for the selection and management of nature reserves, environmental legislation and sustainable development. Students  acquire the fundamental knowledge to monitor populations, calculate indices of biological diversity, evaluate protected areas and implement action plans for the conservation and management of species and habitats.

Work Placement(s)



1. Introdcution

 The intrinsic and utilitarian value of biodiversity. Ethics and biological conservation

 2. Biological diversity

Genetic diversity, species richness and diversity of ecosystems. Diversity and rarity indices. Global patterns of biodiversity.

3. Threats to biological diversity

Vulnerability of species to extinction. Causes of species extinction

4. Conservation of populations and species

Management of genetic diversity. Population dynamics. Metapopulations and source-sink models. Population viability analysis. Population monitoring

5. Conservation of ecosystems

Interactions among species. Importance of succession and disturbance in biodiversity

Mosaic effect and landscape diversity. Habitat fragmentation. Alteration of ecological processes. Climate change

6. Applied conservation

Conservation of species in-situ and ex-situ. Action plans for species and habitats. Ecological restoration. Environmental legislation.


Head Lecturer(s)

Jaime Albino Ramos

Assessment Methods

Project: 15.0%
Synthesis work: 15.0%
Exam: 70.0%


Frankham, R., J. D. Ballou e D. A. Briscoe. 2002. Introduction to conservation genetics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


Given, D.R. 1994. Principles and practice of plant conservation. Timber Press Inc. Oregon.


Groom, M. J., G. K. Meffe e C. R. Carroll. 2006. Principles of Conservation Biology. Third edition. Sinauer associates, Sunderland.


Hill, D. M. Fasham, G. Tucker, M. Shewry e P. Shaw. 2005. Handbook of biodiversity methods: survey, evaluation and monitoring. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


Primack, R. B. 2002. Essentials of Conservation Biology. Sinauer associates, Sunderland.



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