University of Notre Dame

Fundamentals of Conservation Biology

Course Number: BIOS10117
Instructor: David Flagel

This course is an introductory, non-majors survey of the biological, ecological, environmental, and social factors which have led to an unprecedented increase in extinction rates. We will begin by learning what science is and how it works, and delve into what makes up the field of conservation biology. We will then briefly explore what is biodiversity and the major threats to it, including habitat loss and fragmentation, overexploitation, climate change, and invasive species. We will also discuss how biodiversity is measured, patterns in the distribution and amount of biodiversity, and why it is important to preserve. Examination of conservation methods will include the application of fundamental population and community ecology, as well as the design and management of reserves and conservation of resources on local and global scales. Over the course of the semester we will also go over the history of conservation in the United States as told through the lens of the National Parks system. Virtual lab and chapter activities will also bring a hands-on, active-learning component to emphasize key lessons from lecture (SimBio virtual textbook/lab required for course).