This spring I will be teaching a graduate seminar in conservation biology. The goal of this class will be to provide students with a nuanced look at the problems facing conservation biologists in the field. I will approach this course from a historical perspective showing how the underpinnings of our science can be found in the writings of Wallace, Thoreau and Muir. I hope that this class will be a discussion filled one, as there are few unambiguously ‘right’ answers in conservation biology. My aim will be to provide students with the tools, information, and historical context necessary to address emerging conservation issues.
The syllabus is presented below:
G6905 Graduate Seminar in Conservation Biology
Joshua Drew, Ph.D. Instructor
firstname.lastname@example.org (212) 854-7807 @Drew_Lab
Wednesday Afternoons 4:00 to 6:00
We are in the midst of the sixth great mass extinction of life on Earth. Unlike the previous five, the current one is occurring over a much shorter time scale. Moreover, this extinction is wholly dependent on human activities. The purpose of this class is to understand the biology underlying our attempts to mitigate this extinction crisis. This course will prepare you to further continue your exploration of conservation and give you the background to engage intelligently in conservation conversations, produce and analyze conservation science, and to frame your own graduate work in a conservation context.
Classes each week will consist of lectures on selected topics followed by a discussion lead by students. There will be food to facilitate these discussions. The course will incorporate both student presentations and discussions. Because of the interactive nature of the class, student participation is a critical component of the grade. This class does not fall on any Columbia recognized holidays and there will be no makeups. You will be responsible for all content covered in class.
Everyone in this class should feel comfortable to express an idea, even if the idea is not a popular one. I encourage intellectual controversy and believe it is how we learn best. I expect all students to abide by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ code of academic integrity (http://gsas.columbia.edu/content/academic-integrity-and-responsible-conduct-research). Breaches of the student code such as cheating and plagiarism (that is, taking credit for the work of others) will not be tolerated, and any breaches of the student code will be referred to the Dean’s Office.
Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources at http://sexualrespect.columbia.edu. We also provide accommodations for students with documented disabilities; please check with https://health.columbia.edu/disability-services to ensure I get notified if this is applicable. Lastly, I want to maintain a respectful atmosphere where students are free to discuss topics in a safe and collegial atmosphere. We will be covering some potentially contentious topics in class, discussion is encouraged, disrespect is not.
This course will consist of lectures, discussions and active learning opportunities, thus class participation and readings are going to factor heavily in the grade. You will have six parts to your grade.
1) Each week we will be having a discussion session that will be lead by a different student. Each week four students will choose one paper each to present to the group. They will also be responsible for leading a discussion on those papers. Each student is responsible for reading each paper and for making a substantive contribution to discussion.
2&3) Students will be expected to write a term paper on a topic to be determined by the student and professor. This paper could in theory be empirically based, but most likely will be a literature synthesis about a topic of choice. This paper should be done in the style of a peer-reviewed paper and if of sufficient quality we will be submitting this paper for publication. Thus novelty and synthesis are paramount. Students will have to hand in a graded outline for this paper midway through the semester.
4 & 5) A final and a midterm. They will consist of a combination of short answer and longer form answer
6) Finally students will have to do one blog entry (700 words) in which they will describe the final research paper in non-technical terms.
- Discussion Session 10%
- Term paper outline 10%
- Term paper 20%
- Midterm 20%
- Final 20%
- Blog entry 10%
- Class participation 10%
January 20th 2016
The historical roots of conservation
January 27th 2016
Biodiversity patterns, processes and distributions
- Katsanevakis, Stelios, et al. “Invading the Mediterranean Sea: biodiversity patterns shaped by human activities.” Frontiers in Marine Science 1 (2014): 32.
- Piett, Sarah, Heather A. Hager, and Chelsey Gerrard. “Characteristics for evaluating the conservation value of species hybrids.” Biodiversity and Conservation (2015): 1-25.
- Pimm, Stuart L., et al. “The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection.” Science 344.6187 (2014): 1246752.
February 3rd 2016
Island Biogeography and reserve design
Fattorini, Simone, et al. “Calling for a new strategy to measure environmental (habitat) diversity in Island Biogeography: a case study of Mediterranean tenebrionids (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae).” Fragmenta Entomologica 47.1 (2015): 1-14.
Gonzalez‐Quevedo, Catalina, et al. “Drift, not selection, shapes toll‐like receptor variation among oceanic island populations.” Molecular Ecology 24.23 (2015): 5852-5863.
Laurance, William F. “Theory meets reality: how habitat fragmentation research has transcended island biogeographic theory.” Biological Conservation 141.7 (2008): 1731-1744.
- Schill, Steven R., et al. “No Reef Is an Island: Integrating Coral Reef Connectivity Data into the Design of Regional-Scale Marine Protected Area Networks.” PloS one 10.12 (2015): e0144199.
February 10th, 2016
Ecosystem valuations – monetary approaches towards conservation
- Daily, Gretchen C., et al. “The value of nature and the nature of value.” Science 289.5478 (2000): 395-396.
- Kremen C, et al. “Ecosystem services in decision making: time to deliver.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7.1 (2009): 21-28.
Fanny, Boeraeve, et al. “How (not) to perform ecosystem service valuations: pricing gorillas in the mist.” Biodiversity and Conservation 24.1 (2015): 187-197.
- Kremen, Claire. “Managing ecosystem services: what do we need to know about their ecology?.” Ecology Letters 8.5 (2005): 468-479.
Redford, Kent H., and William M. Adams. “Payment for ecosystem services and the challenge of saving nature.” Conservation Biology 23.4 (2009): 785-787.
February 17th, 2016
Bush meat, small-scale fisheries and overharvesting
- Brashares, Justin S., et al. “Economic and geographic drivers of wildlife consumption in rural Africa.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108.34 (2011): 13931-13936.
- Golden, Christopher D., et al. “Benefits of wildlife consumption to child nutrition in a biodiversity hotspot.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108.49 (2011): 19653-19656.
Jerozolimski, Adriano, and Carlos A. Peres. “Bringing home the biggest bacon: a cross-site analysis of the structure of hunter-kill profiles in Neotropical forests.” Biological Conservation 111.3 (2003): 415-425.
- Kamins, Alexandra O., et al. “Characteristics and risk perceptions of Ghanaians potentially exposed to bat-borne zoonoses through bushmeat.” EcoHealth 12.1 (2015): 104-120.
Pauly, Daniel, and Dirk Zeller. “Catch reconstructions reveal that global marine fisheries catches are higher than reported and declining.” Nature communications 7 (2016).
February 24th, 2016
- Heyman, William D., and Pablo Granados-Dieseldorff. “The voice of the fishermen of the Gulf of Honduras: improving regional fisheries management through fisher participation.” Fisheries Research 125 (2012): 129-148.
Kempton, Willett. “Cognitive anthropology and the environment.” New directions in anthropology and environment. Alta Mira Press, Walnut Creek, California (2001): 49-71. (Click here for Kempton)
- Ruiz-Mallén, Isabel, and Esteve Corbera. “Community-based conservation and traditional ecological knowledge: implications for social-ecological resilience.” Ecology and Society 18.4 (2013): 12.
March 2nd 2016
People and Parks
- Allendorf, T. D., and J. Yang. “The role of ecosystem services in park–people relationships: The case of Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve in southwest China.” Biological conservation 167 (2013): 187-193.
- Cronon, William. “The trouble with wilderness: or, getting back to the wrong nature.” Environmental History 1.1 (1996): 7-28.
- MacKenzie, Catrina A. “Trenches like fences make good neighbours: Revenue sharing around Kibale National Park, Uganda.” Journal for Nature Conservation 20.2 (2012): 92-100.
Van Hoang, Sam, Pieter Baas, and Paul JA Keβler. “Uses and conservation of plant species in a national park—a case study of Ben En, Vietnam.” Economic botany 62.4 (2008): 574-593.
March 9th 2016
March 16th, 2016
March 23rd, 2016
Albins, Mark A., and Mark A. Hixon. “Invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois volitans reduce recruitment of Atlantic coral-reef fishes.” Marine Ecology Progress Series 367 (2008): 233-238. (links directly to pdf)
Costello, Christopher, John M. Drake, and David M. Lodge. “Evaluating an invasive species policy: ballast water exchange in the Great Lakes.” Ecological Applications 17.3 (2007): 655-662.
Kolbe, Jason J., et al. “Genetic variation increases during biological invasion by a Cuban lizard.” Nature 431.7005 (2004): 177-181.
- Marchetti, Michael P., and Tag Engstrom. “The conservation paradox of endangered and invasive species.” Conservation Biology (2015).
March 30th, 2016
People and parks debate: We will be structuring your debate about E.O. Wilson’s recent book “Half Earth”
- Barrett, Christopher B., and Peter Arcese. “Are integrated conservation-development projects (ICDPs) sustainable? On the conservation of large mammals in sub-Saharan Africa.” World development 23.7 (1995): 1073-1084.
- Bennett, Nathan James, and Philip Dearden. “Why local people do not support conservation: community perceptions of marine protected area livelihood impacts, governance and management in Thailand.” Marine Policy44 (2014): 107-116.
- Brockington, Daniel, and David Wilkie. “Protected areas and poverty.” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370.1681 (2015): 20140271.
- Macekura, Stephen. “Crisis and Opportunity: Environmental NGOs, Debt-for-Nature Swaps, and the Rise of’People-Centred’Conservation.” Environment and History 22.1 (2016): 49-73.
- Mbile, P., et al. “Linking management and livelihood in environmental conservation: case of the Korup National Park Cameroon.” Journal of Environmental Management 76.1 (2005): 1-13.
- Miller, James R., and Richard J. Hobbs. “Conservation where people live and work.” Conservation biology 16.2 (2002): 330-337.
- Nagendra, Harini, Sajid Pareeth, and Rucha Ghate. “People within parks—forest villages, land-cover change and landscape fragmentation in the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, India.” Applied Geography 26.2 (2006): 96-112.
- Oldekop, J. A., et al. “A global assessment of the social and conservation outcomes of protected areas.” Conservation Biology (2015).
- Rashkow, Ezra D. “Idealizing Inhabited Wilderness: A Revision to the History of Indigenous Peoples and National Parks.” History Compass 12.10 (2014): 818-832.
- Riley, Erin P. “The importance of human–macaque folklore for conservation in Lore Lindu National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia.” Oryx 44.02 (2010): 235-240.
- Van On, Tran, et al. “A survey of medicinal plants in BaVi National Park, Vietnam: methodology and implications for conservation and sustainable use.” Biological Conservation 97.3 (2001): 295-304.
Vaccaro, Ismael, Oriol Beltran, and Pierre Alexandre Paquet. “Political ecology and conservation policies: some theoretical genealogies.” Journal of Political Ecology 20 (2013): 255-272.
April 6th, 2016
Spatial planning and prioritization for conservation areas
- Andelman, Sandy J., and Michael R. Willig. “Alternative configurations of conservation reserves for Paraguayan bats: considerations of spatial scale.” Conservation Biology 16.5 (2002): 1352-1363.
- Brown, Greg, Delene Weber, and Kelly de Bie. “Is PPGIS good enough? An empirical evaluation of the quality of PPGIS crowd-sourced spatial data for conservation planning.” Land Use Policy 43 (2015): 228-238.
- Giorgi, Ana Paula, et al. “Spatial conservation planning framework for assessing conservation opportunities in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.” Applied Geography 53 (2014): 369-376.
April 13th, 2016
- Ims, Rolf A., and E. V. A. Fuglei. “Trophic interaction cycles in tundra ecosystems and the impact of climate change.” Bioscience 55.4 (2005): 311-322.
- Keith, David W. “Engineering the planet.” Climate change science and policy(2008).
- Luke, Timothy W. “The climate change imaginary.” Current Sociology (2014): 0011392114556593.
April 20th, 2016
Flagships and Keystones
- Douglas, Leo R., and Diogo Veríssimo. “Flagships or battleships: deconstructing the relationship between social conflict and conservation flagship species.” Environment and Society: Advances in Research 4.1 (2013): 98-116.
- Manning, Adrian D., Joern Fischer, and David B. Lindenmayer. “Scattered trees are keystone structures–implications for conservation.” Biological conservation 132.3 (2006): 311-321.
- Root-Bernstein, Meredith, et al. “Anthropomorphized species as tools for conservation: utility beyond prosocial, intelligent and suffering species.” Biodiversity and Conservation 22.8 (2013): 1577-1589.
- Rudolf, Volker HW, and Nick L. Rasmussen. “Ontogenetic functional diversity: size structure of a keystone predator drives functioning of a complex ecosystem.” Ecology 94.5 (2013): 1046-1056.
April 27th, 2016
Small population management
- Fischer, Markus, and Diethart Matthies. “Effects of population size on performance in the rare plant Gentianella germanica.” Journal of Ecology86.2 (1998): 195-204.
- Lacy, Robert C. “Achieving true sustainability of zoo populations.” Zoo Biology 32.1 (2013): 19-26.
- Traill, Lochran W., et al. “Pragmatic population viability targets in a rapidly changing world.” Biological Conservation 143.1 (2010): 28-34.
May 11th, 2016
May 13th, 2016
Final Paper Due
The main text for the course will be Conservation Biology for All by Sodhi and Ehrlich (2010) which is generously being provided free of charge by the Society for Conservation Biology. While this text is well put together and covers the essentials, I will be drawing heavily from current published literature, blogs and grey literature. In doing so I want to convey the dynamic nature of Conservation Biology and have you become active participants in the discussion. I will be tweeting links and resources throughout the semester using the hashtag #G6905 as well as hosting your blogs here.
There are no pre-assigned readings for this course. Rather, each week we will have four papers chosen by the students. Students are required to upload the papers to courseworks by Sunday evening so that everyone has sufficient time to read them.