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Unit 4: Ecology and Conservation - Biology

Unit 4: Ecology and Conservation - Biology


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Ecology is the study of the interaction of organisms with their biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) environment. Plant ecologists study plants across many different biomes, both terrestrial and aqautic. They may be interested in studying plants at different levels of organization, such as the population level, the community level, or the ecosystem level. Many plant ecologists are interested in conservation biology, protecting the diversity of plants from human impacts. Understanding the connections between plants and other organisms helps us solve scientific problems and understand our world better.

  • 19: Population Ecology
    Community ecology is the study of the interactions between species in communities on many spatial and temporal scales, including the distribution, structure, abundance, demography, and interactions between coexisting populations. The primary focus of community ecology is on the interactions between populations as determined by specific genotypic and phenotypic characteristics.
  • 20: Communities and Ecosystems
    No image available
    All populations occupying the same habitat form a community: populations inhabiting a specific area at the same time.
  • 21: Conservation
    Conservation aims to protect biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth. There are three main levels of biodiversity: ecosystem, species, and genetic diversity. Each has value to humans. Threats to biodiversity include habitat loss, pollution, overexploitation, invasive species, and climate change. A variety of approaches, including legislation and ecosystem restoration, address these threats.
  • 22: Terrestrial Biomes
    No image available

125 Years of Graduate Degrees: 1896-2021 THE GRADUATE SCHOOL

The Program in Plant Biology and Conservation focuses on preparing students for future leadership positions in botanical science and plant conservation. In response to growing national and international threats to biodiversity and impending global mass extinctions, the program is designed to train future botanists who have the skills to meet and address this crisis.

Conducted jointly by Northwestern University (NU) and the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG), the program offers a master of science and doctoral degree through The Graduate School at Northwestern University. Advanced courses are taught by NU professors and CBG scientists in a variety of fields, including conservation biology, genetics, plant and soil ecology, evolution, plant science, environmental science and policy, geology, environmental economics, and anthropology. Many courses offered by CBG are taught at the Garden.

Additional resources:

Program Statistics

Visit Master's Program Statistics and PhD Program Statistics for statistics such as program admissions, enrollment, student demographics and more.

Program Contact

Contact Amanda Bartosiak
Program Assistant
847-467-1118


  • Students will understand the theoretical and empirical basis of ecology, evolution, conservation biology, and related fields.
  • Students will obtain knowledge of the application of computer tools, conceptual and analytical models, data analysis techniques, and field and laboratory procedures.
  • Students will develop an ability to articulate scientific concepts and results in written, graphical, and verbal formats.
  • Graduates will secure positions in their field upon graduation.

Students who seek admission to the program should have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0, a TOEFL score of 600 (for international students) and should have completed the following course requirements: biology course work (24 credits, ideally including genetics, evolution, and ecology), or equivalent evidence of ability to succeed in a doctoral program in ecology, evolution and conservation biology, as well as course work (18 credits) in other physical or environmental sciences, math, or chemistry. Each student must have a temporary advisor among the EECB faculty before they are accepted into the EECB Program. Within the first academic year, an advisory committee and major professor must be chosen, and the first committee meeting held.


Year 2

In year 2 compulsory courses include Life Sciences, a dedicated Conservation Biology course as well as courses on Ecology, Genes and Evolution and a field course in Zoology. You will also select electives from courses across the university.

Compulsory Courses

The course will help you consolidate and develop skills in experimental design, sampling, analysis, presentation, and interpretation of data. You will be encouraged to seek to improve your academic writing and develop other transferable skills.

Each week, there is one 1-hour introductory lecture. In two 2-hour sessions when will work through a series of computer-based data tasks, using relevant and realistic biological and environmental themes.

Teaching is informal and friendly. During sessions, staff will chat to you about your progress and provide help where necessary.

Assessments are two online multiple-choice tests (each 25%) and an individual project (50%).

This course builds on themes from introductory ecology courses. You will develop your abilities to interpret data by applying theory discussed in classes to real-life data sets using short problem-solving exercises linked to each topic. Feedback will help you improve writing and interpretation skills. Extended problem-solving exercises will improve your communication skills, scientific writing and introduce you to valuable approaches to summarising complex datasets in Excel. A series of tutorials will allow you develop critical thinking as you explore specific themes in more detail. You will also consider issues around experimental design.

Lectures and practical classes consider important and controversial conservation issues, encouraging you to discuss and develop your ideas and thinking. A visit to a local nature reserve introduces the management issues and opportunities facing small urban sites. An essay provides you with the opportunity to study a Biodiversity Action Plan species of your choice and to analyse critically the work undertaken to conserve it. Extended problem-solving exercises will develop your skills in diagnosing causes of species decline. Detailed feedback on written work which will help you consolidate your skills in scientific writing and writing for a more general audience.

Optional Courses

Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice, plus one of the following field courses:

Residential field course in Shetland designed to provide you with training in ship-based applied marine biology and ecology based at the North Atlantic Fisheries College, Scalloway. We will use the college trawler, Atlantia, for sampling fish species using trawls. In addition, oceanographic conditions, plankton samples and benthic core sampling will all be undertaken and all analysis will be done using the R statistical language with the data collected by students. We will also visit local fish/shellfish farms and the bird sanctuary at Sumburgh Head. Bed and Breakfast accommodation will be provided in Bridge-end Outdoor Centre situated in a coastal area.

Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines

Residential field course designed to introduce you to the main groups of parasitic invertebrates and protozoa in our indigenous wildlife and provide you with training in field identification and sampling techniques.

Field work provides opportunities to observe, identify and collect host and intermediate host species, and training in field identification and sampling techniques.

Lab work provides for the morphological and molecular identification of parasites, and experiments on parasite physiology and manipulation of host behaviour.

Group based project work provides skills in team working, data collection, analysis and presentation.

We aim to pack as much experience into this course as we can in 6 days, so we work long and quite intensive days to allow you to develop deep understanding of parasitology, but there is always time at the end of the day to unwind with peers and staff in the excellent social facilities and to enjoy the unique environment of the Isle of Cumbrae.

Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines

Residential field course designed to provide you with training in field identification and sampling techniques in Cromarty.

Group based project work provides skills in team working, data collection, analysis and presentation.

Hard work throughout the days is rewarded through the development of deep understanding and the enjoyment of spending time with peers and staff.

Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines

This is a residential field course designed to provide you with training in field identification and sampling techniques based in Kelvinside Academy John Duff Lodge, Corgarff, Strathdon. Group based project work provides skills in team working, data collection, analysis and presentation.

Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines

During day trips from Aberdeen, you will learn and practice a variety of techniques for sampling and identifying organisms in the field.

We will take opportunities to interact with scientists from NGOs and research institutes, who will give instruction on techniques and provide overviews on the remits and opportunities within their organisations.

Group based project work provides skills in team working, data collection, analysis and presentation.

You will develop skills in biological recording by maintaining a detailed record of the field activities in a field notebook.

By visiting and working in a variety of environments you will become familiar with common species, the ecological characteristics of local habitats and have opportunities to apply your classroom learning to the field.

Please note that the information provided is subject to change due to the ongoing Covid-19 government guidelines


Course Entry

Admission requirements you'll need to meet for this course.

All applicants must meet the academic admission requirements for this course. The indicative or guaranteed ATAR is as published (where applicable) or academic admission requirements may be satisfied through completion of one of the following:

  • AQF Cert IV
  • Successfully completed 0.25 EFTSL of study at bachelor level or higher at an Australian higher education provider (or equivalent)
  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test*
  • University Preparation Course*
  • Indigenous University Orientation Course*
  • Aboriginal University Readiness Assessment or*
  • Experience Based Entry Scheme.*

* Further information can be found on the Study course entry page.

For international students, requirements include your secondary school results.

English competency requirements may be satisfied through completion of one of the following:

  • Year 12 English ATAR/English Literature ATAR grade C or better or equivalent
  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test*
  • IELTS Academic Overall band minimum score of 6.0 (no individual band less than 6.0)
  • Successfully completed 1.0 EFTSL of study at bachelor level or higher in the UK, Ireland, USA, NZ or Canada
  • University Preparation Course
  • Indigenous University Orientation Course*
  • Aboriginal University Readiness Assessment*
  • AQF Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree
  • Successfully completed 0.375 EFTSL of study at bachelor level or higher at an Australian higher education provider (or equivalent) or
  • Other tests, courses or programs defined on the English Proficiency Bands page.

* Further information can be found on the Study course entry page.


21.4) Conservation

Sustainable resource: is one that is produced as rapidly as it is removed from the environment so that it does not run out.

Sustainable development: is development providing for the needs of an increasing human population without harming the environment.

Non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels need to be conserved because the stocks of them on the planet are finite.

It can be conserved in the following ways:

  • By increasing the use of renewable energy (wind energy, solar energy, hydroelectric power).
  • By improving the efficiency of energy use (better insulation, smaller car engines, more public transport).

Sustaining forest and fish stocks:

  • Some resources, such as forests and fish stocks can be maintained with careful management.
  • This may involve replant land with new seedlings as mature trees are felled and controlling the activities of fishermen operating where fish stocks are being depleted.
  • There are three main ways of sustaining the numbers of key species. These are:
  • Local communities need to be educated about the need for conservation. One they understand its importance, the environment they live in is more likely to be cared for and the species in it protected.
  • In Europe the Common Fisheries Policy is used to set quotas for fishing, to manage fish stocks and help protect species that were becoming endangered through overfishing.
  • Quotas were set for each species of fish taken commercially and also for the size f fish. This was to allow fish to reach breeding age and maintain or increase their populations.
  • Where populations of a fish species are in decline, their numbers may be conserved by a restocking programme.
  • This involves breeding fish in captivity, then releasing them into the wild.
  • However, the reasons for the decline in numbers need to be identified first.
  • if pollution was the cause of the decline, the restocked fish will die as well, issue of pollution needs to be addressed first.
  • Microorganisms, mainly bacteria and protoctista, play an essential part in the treatment of sewage to make it harmless.
  • Sewage contains bacteria from the human intestine that can be harmful.
  • These bacteria must be destroyed in order to prevent the spread of intestinal diseases.
  • Sewage also contain substances such as soap and detergent from household wastes and chemicals from factories. These too must be removed before the sewage effluent is released into the rivers.
  • Inland towns have to make their sewage harmless in a sewage treatment plant before discharging the effluent into rivers.
  • A sewage works removes solid and liquid waste from the sewage, so that the water leaving the works is safe to drink.
  • In a large town, the main method of sewage treatment is by the activated sludge process.
  • This is a complex process, requiring the management of conflicting demands. As the world’s population grows, so does the demand for the extraction of resources from the environment.
  • However, this needs to be carried out in a controlled way to prevent environmental damage and strategies need to be put in place to ensure habitats and species diversity are not threatened.
  • Planning the removal of resources need to be done at local, national and international levels.
  • This is to make sure that everyone involved with the process is aware of the potential consequences of the process on the environment, and that appropriate strategies are put in place, and adhered to, to minimise any risk.

Endangering species and causing their extinction:

  • This is a natural, uncontrollable process, but processes like global warming are made worse by human activity.
  • Can be caused by a number of things – pollution biggest factor, fishing activity and dredging ships.
  • Lead to destruction of habitats leaving species homeless.
  • Global warming caused by pollution leading to rapid changes in climate in certain.
  • As a result the conditions will change, causing the environment to change and the species being no longer suited to it and struggle to survive.
  • Eg polar bear – arctic ice melting – cannot swim very well.
  • Some species of animal are not introduced deliberately into different ecosystem, but find they way in due to man’s activities and then upset food chains.
  • If the population of a species drop, the range of variation within the species drops, making it less able to adapt to environmental change.
  • The species could, therefore, be threatened with extinction.
  • When animal populations fall, there is less chance of individuals finding each other to mate.

Habitats can be conserved in a number of ways:

  • Using laws to protect the habitat.
  • Using wardens to protect the habitat.
  • Reducing or controlling public access to the habitat.
  • Controlling factors, such as water drainage and grazing, that may otherwise contribute to destruction of the habitat.
  • Monitoring and protecting species and habitats.
  • Captive breeding and reintroductions – possible to boost a species numbers by breeding in captivity and releasing the animals back into the environment.
  • Seed banks – way of protecting plant species from extinction. They include seed from food crops and rare species. They act as gene banks.

Reasons for conservation programmes (CP – not pokemongo related, word just too long cbf writing it):


Entry requirements

With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
AAB
including Biology and a second science

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
ABB
including Biology and a second science

A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB, including Biology and a second science + B in the EPQ ABB, including Biology and a second science + B in Core Maths ABB, including Biology and a second science + B in the EPQ ABB, including Biology and a second science + B in Core Maths

International Baccalaureate | 34, 6, 5 in Higher Level Biology and a second science 33 with 5 in Higher Level Biology and a second science

BTEC | DD in Applied Science (with Distinctions in all Biology units if Biology not offered at A Level) + A in an A Level science DD in Applied Science (with Distinctions in all Biology Units if not offer at A level) + B in an A level Science

Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher | AAABB, including a science subject + B in Biology AABBB including a science subject + B in Biology

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA in Biology and a second science B + AB in Biology and a second science

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a Science Subject with 45 at level 3 including 36 credits at Distinctions to include Biology and a second science, and 9 credits at Merit. Applicants are considered individually. 60 credits overall in a Science Subject with 45 at level 3 including 30 credits at Distinctions to include Biology and a second science, and 15 credits at Merit. Applicants are considered individually.

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements |

You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

Human Biology is acceptable instead of Biology. Second science from Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Environmental Science or Geography


Watch the video: Notes IB Biology (July 2022).


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