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Wildlife and Biodiversity

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The elective track “Wildlife and Biodiversity” (W&B) covers the ecology and conservation biology of wildlife and biodiversity, with a focus on terrestrial ecosystems. W&B adopts a broad concept of “wildlife”, including not only vertebrates but all fauna and habitats. Anthropogenic loss, fragmentation and deterioration of habitats are the major causes of species extinctions. Direct human exploitation and invasive exotic species add to the current loss of biodiversity, and climate change is posing a new, accelerating threat. Biodiversity conservation is on the political agenda worldwide; conservation biologists provide the scientific basis for this global endeavour. The elective track will focus on forest ecosystems. Forests are the main retreats for many threatened animals and plants; this holds around the globe from the boreal forests of the North to the rainforests of the Tropics. Therefore, biodiversity conservation is strongly linked to forestry – and no forest manager can avoid biodiversity issues. W&B‘s focus is on ecological research in a conservation context, and thus, is aiming at students interested in the interface between science and application.

Module contents range from theory and research methods to field work and scientific writing. The first semester provides a conceptual basis, introducing the concept of biodiversity, methods in wildlife research, and conservation biology. In the following summer, students will spend a lot of time in the field, experiencing the challenges of Protected Area Management on site, joining research projects of the ConFoBi Research Training Group, a DFG-funded graduate programme on Forest Biodiversity, and studying Insect Communities and Dynamics. In the third semester, students can further develop their individual profiles by choosing from various modules, project studies, and special topics.

 

Coordinator of the elective track

 

  

Prof. Dr. Ilse Storch

Wildlife Ecology and Management

 


Phone: +49 761 203-3797

Email:ilse.storch@wildlife.uni-freiburg.de

 

5 reasons for the elective track "Wildlife and Biodiversity"

  1. animals, their habitats, and biodiversity are GREAT and the study of living systems is fascinating
  2. expertise in organismic biology is needed
    - current biology programs are largely molecular
    - biodiversity conservation needs (field-) ecologists
  3. you will understand the ecological processes at various levels: needed
    - genes, individuals, populations, ecosystems, and landscapes
  4. you will understand the concept of biodiversity with its components, functions, and services
  5. you will lear methods, skills and competencies to design and evaluate monitoring schemes, management plans and research for wildlife and biodiversity

Employment options

Graduates of the elective track W&B may find employment in research as well as conservation:

 Research and Science

  • Universities
  • research institutions
  • professional societies
  • ...
Conservation
  • Governmental institutions
  • (international) NGOs
  • consultancy companies

 

Further, the elective track W&B is an excellent preparation for doctoral studies in applied ecology, animal ecology and conservation biology.

Study structure

 

 

Module descriptions

First term (winter)

Biodiversity

Module coordinator

Prof. Dr. M. Boppré

Additional Lecturers

Prof. Dr. C. Dormann, Prof. Dr. R. Glawion, NN Forest Botany, NN Vegetation Science

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, group work, tutorials

Type of examination

Written exam (90 min)

Syllabus

Basics and case examples of "biodiversity":

  • taxonomy / systematics
  • functional diversity and life-styles of animals (mainly insects) and plants
  • microbial biodiversity (bacteria and fungi)
  • biogeography, biodiversity hotspots
  • animal and plant communities
  • ecosystem services of animals and plants
  • methods of quantitative analysis and description of biodiversity
  • biodiversity research

(attention to genetics and vertebrates will be paid in other modules of the elective line)

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will

  • be qualified to critically follow the scientific and public debates on the subject and give them background knowledge for careers in research, education and consultancy.
  • discuss basic biological facts relevant in the context of biodiversity as well as methods, all in the context of value of organisms for ecosystem functioning and sustainable use by humans.
  • understand the complexity of organisms' roles and interactions.
  • work out case examples provides training for literature searches and presentations.
  • will consider at various levels the changes of biodiversity due to human impacts, including alien species and global change.

Core Readings

Rice SA (2012) Encyclopedia of Biodiversity. New York: Facts On File Inc.
Further reading will be provided on CampusOnline and during the module.

Research in Wildlife Ecology

Module coordinator

Prof. Dr. Gernot Segelbacher

Additional Lecturers

Dr. Marco Heurich, Max Kröschel

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, excursions, group assignments

Type of examination

Portfolio on course content (40%), oral presentation of group work (30%), written manual on data analysis (5-10 pages, 30%)

Syllabus

Overview on different research methods in wildlife ecology and their applications

  1. Tracking and monitoring of wildlife (telemetry, cameras and other monitoring methods)
  2. Monitoring through non-invasive genetic sampling
  3. Estimation of population size and density as well as other population dynamic parameters (Capture-Mark-Recapture, Mark-Resight)
  4. Sampling design, data analysis and interpretation

The second week will be taught in the National Park Bayerischer Wald as field excursion in a winter camp. Maximum number of participants is 24 students.

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will

  • obtain an overview on different methods and approaches which are applied in wildlife research.
  • get an insight in the diversity of research approaches, their backgrounds and areas of application.
  • work on case studies, read original literature as well as gain practical experience based on field work, excursions and analysis of real data sets.
  • discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods.
  • focus on wildlife monitoring and its recent developments, e.g. genetic approaches.
  • be qualified for advanced education in conservation biological and wildlife biology research (PhD programmes). The module provides the scientific background for careers in wildlife ecology.

 

Preliminary readings

  • Morellet, N., Klein, F., Solberg, E., Andersen, R. (2011) The census and management of populations of ungulates in Europa. In: Putman, R., Apollonio, M., Andersen, R. (Eds.): Ungulate Management in Europe: Problems and Practices. Cambridge University Press.

  • Frankham, R., Ballou, J.D., Briscoe, D.A. (2010) Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press

Conservation Biology

Module coordinator

Prof. Dr. Ilse Storch

Additional Lecturers

Prof. Dr. Gernot Segelbacher

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, excursions, group assignments

Type of examination

Essay on scientific paper (minimum 10 pages, 50%), two oral presentations and group discussion on i) scientific papers (30%) and ii) case studies (20%) (30%)

Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of ecology

Syllabus

  • Conservation Biology: a crisis discipline
  •  Ecological Concepts in Conservation Biology
    • Habitat studies as a basis for conservation
    • Habitat fragmentation, MVP and metapopulation
  • Conservation Approaches and Priorities
    • International Organisations and Conventions
    • Conservation approaches from species to landscapes
  • Animal Population Restoration International conservation case examples
  • Conservation Genetics

Learning goals and qualifications

Students

  • know the essential concepts and approaches of Conservation Biology and can apply them to corresponding problems of species conservation.
  • learn to critically discuss papers in terms of their scientific value and applicability.


The module provides students with the scientific basis for further qualification in Conservation Biology (PhD) as well as for careers in international nature conservation

 

Core readings

  • Primack, R.B. (2004) A Primer of Conservation Biology. Sinauer Ass.
  • Sutherland, W.J. (2000) The Conservation Handbook. Blackwell Science.
  • Shaffer, M.L. (1981) Minimum population sizes for species conservation. BioScience 31, 131-134.

Second term (summer)

Protected Area Management

Module coordinator

PD Dr. Marco Heurich

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, Excursion, Tutorials

Type of Examination

Portfolio

Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of ecology

Syllabus

  • PA´s as the cornerstone of the global strategy for the protection of biodiversity
  • Categories of protected areas and legal foundations
  • History of protected areas and evolution of management objectives
  • Planning and design of reserve systems
  • Species protection/visitor management/wildlife management/environmental education/ Conservation and Research
  • Ranger systems
  • Incorporating social and cultural context
  • Evaluation of management effectiveness of protected areas

Learning goals and qualifications

The students will

  • obtain an overview on the major scientific concepts and actual topics in protected area management.
  • get an insight in the diversity of management approaches in protected areas.
  • examine concrete examples of case studies and literature as well as gain some practical experience based on excursions. The strengths and weaknesses of different types of protected areas will be discussed.
  • will understand the complexity of protected area management.
  • be qualified for advanced education in management of protected areas (PhD programmes) and provides the scientific background for careers in management of protected areas.

Core readings

  • Lockwood, M., Worboys, G., & Kothari, A. (Eds.). (2012). Managing protected areas: a global guide. Routledge.
  • Ziegler, L (2015) Protected Areas Management. Ml Books International
  • Harmon, D., & Conard, R. (2016, May). The Evolution of the National Park Service: A Hundred Years of Changing Ideas. In The George Wright Forum (Vol. 33, No. 2, p. 230). George Wright Society.
  • Watson, J. E., Dudley, N., Segan, D. B., & Hockings, M. (2014). The performance and potential of protected areas. Nature, 515(7525), 67-73.

Conservation of Forest Biodiversity

Module coordinator

Prof. Dr. Ilse Storch

Additional Lecturers

Dr. Johannes Penner, ConFoBi scientists

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, group assignments, field excursion

Type of Examination

Report

Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of forest ecology and management

Syllabus

The DFG-funded Research Training Group ConFoBi Conservation of Forest Biodiversity in Multiple-use Landscapes of Central Europe is a major research and qualification programme of Freiburg University. ConFoBi combines multi-scale ecological studies on forest biodiversity with social and economic studies of biodiversity conservation, and focuses on the effectiveness of structural retention measures, namely habitat trees and dead wood, for the conservation of biodiversity in managed forests.

See also: http://confobi.uni-freiburg.de/

The module will offer students insights into the approaches, study design, field methods and data anlysis of ConFoBi. ConFoBi researchers will present their projects, students will visit study plots and – as far as possible - participate in data collection and/or analysis. After a general introduction to forest biodiversity conservation issues, and the ConFoBi project, students will work on various aspects of ConFoBi (field work, lab, data analysis, written assignments). Details will be specified each summer shortly before the module according to ConFoBi’s research schedule. The module may also prepare students for MSc thesis work, and possibly later PhD research, within the ConFoBi project.

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will

  • gain knowledge of major approaches and challenges in conservation of biodiversity in managed forests
  • will gnowledge of retention forestry approaches
  • understand the interdisciplinary study design and the translational approach of ConFoBi
  • be qualified for advanced education in conservation biological research (PhD programmes) and the scientific background for careers in forest conservation policy and management will be provided.

 

Core readings

To be specified towards start of the module

Insect Communities and Dynamics

Module coordinator

Prof. Dr. M. Boppré

Additional Lecturers

Dr. Tim Burzlaff, Ottmar Fischer , Philipp Klein

Teaching and Learning Methods

Group work, tutorials, lectures

Type of examination

Poster, portfolio

Syllabus

  • Entomological forest Inventories
  • Designing an inventory, sampling for what purpose,
  • choice of insect sampling methods, incl. handling of reference samples and storage of samples after collection
  • recording relevant insect groups, target insect groups in temperate forests
  • sorting samples, insect determination and conservation
  • statistical evaluation
  • macrophotography, image processing, poster design
  • literature survey

Learning goals and qualifications

Students will

  • focusse on practical field work, mainly in entomological research, plus respective background overviews. Along a gradient two different forest sites will be sampled for insects using a set of methods. The insects collected will be statistically evaluated. Additionally, subgroups will investigate specific and pre-defined entomological research questions based on a literature survey – the results will be presented.
  • leran to handle with overcoming difficulties with time-management and determination as well as handling obstacles of entomological field and lab studies.
  • understand the complexity of organisms' roles and interactions and learn how to untangle these.

 

Preliminary readings

Literature will be provided during the module, according to projects chosen.