Conservation Biology

« Return


Goals: convey concepts of biodiversity, analyze causes and consequences of its loss and ways of gauging it, and study strategies for its conservation; to know how to assess the biodiversity from an economical point of view and meet the indicators for an anthropogenic assessment; show the role and importance of protected areas in conservation; use of molecular tools in monitoring biodiversity loss, and consequences of habitat fragmentation on species conservation. The TP component is used to analyze the literature and important databases for policymakers and conservationists, assess the current situation in the Azores and in other regions of the world, and establish protocols and conservation projects that evaluate and propose measures to minimize impacts of human activities on ecosystems. These activities aim to build skills in planning conservation studies, and allow students to make judgments about real situations.


Int. to CB

Definition of biodiversity (Bd)

Causes for the Bd loss

Measuring Bd loss

Quantification of the extinction risk

Ecological consequences of the Bd loss

Conservation Strategies

Species approach

Multi-specific approach

Habitat and ecosystem approach

Planning systematic conservation

Methods to determine conservation priorities

Natural Capital

Value of Bd

Importance of Bd to Humans

HDI and EF

Ecological economics and ecosystem services

Importance of economic incentives for conservation

Molecular Genetics and Conservation

Systematic and hybridization

Non-invasive sampling and estimation of population size

Intra-pop genetic diversity

Inter-pop genetic flow

Detection of selection and local adaptation

Forensic genetics and conservation

Role of Metapopulations in Conservation

Definition of concepts

Environmental impacts in a Mpop context

Conservation and management in a Mpop context

Reserve design

Translocation and reintroduction of species

Current limitations and ethical dilemmas

Teaching Methodologies

The TP classes have an interactive nature where theoretical concepts are being introduced to the students, while the debate is fostered to collect opinions from the class. Due to the nature of their contents, many with strong ethical implications, it is easy to foster the exchange of ideas among students. Some of the articles provided for support of the discipline, are also used as case study to discuss ideas. In general this debate is done in groups of 3 students, and in the end made a general debate in the classroom with the teacher as facilitator.


Macdonald, D.E. & Service, K. (Eds.) 2007. Key Topics in Conservation Biology, Blackwell publishing, 307 pp. (Livro adotado)

Commission for Environmental Cooperation. 2003. Biodiversity. CEC edition, Québec, Canada. 99 pp.

Daly, H.E. & Farley, J. Ecological economics: principles and applications. Island Press, Washington DC, USA. 454 pp.

Hunter, M.L. Jr. & Gibbs, J.P. 2006. Fundamentals of Conservation Biology, 3rd Edition. 516 pp.

Miguel, J.P.; Rosa, L.R. & Barros, S. 2008. Ganhar com a biodiversidade: oportunidades de negócio em Portugal. Actual Editora, Lisboa, Portugal. 256 pp.

Todos os anos são fornecidos ainda artigos recentes de revistas da especialidade (e.g. Biological Conservation), para o desenvolvimento de trabalhos e de discussões na aula, sobre temas de conservação.

Every year we also supply the students with the most recent articles published on specialized journals (e.g. Biological Conservation), meant for the development of works and brainstorming in the classroom.



ECTS Credits



  • Teóricas - 30 hours
  • Teórico-Práticas - 30 hours