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BSc (Hons)

Conservation Biology

BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology A guide for students joining in September 2019

A guide for students joining in September 2019

BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology A guide for students joining in September 2019
BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology A guide for students joining in September 2019

Contents

An introduction to the course

3

Conservation biologists who will teach you

6

Other biologists who will teach you

11

The support team

12

Course structure

13

First year module descriptions

14

Field course in Plymouth (First Year)

15

Field course in Spain (First Year)

16

Second year module descriptions

17

Field course in Mexico (Second Year)

18

Optional placement year

19

Final year module descriptions

20

Final-year projects

21

RSB Accreditation

22

Entry requirements

23

Career opportunities

24

Facilities at Plymouth University

25

Extra-curricular activities

26

Our marine conservation charity

27

Around Plymouth

28

Conservation biology research

29

Scientific publications with students

30

Not sure yet?

31

Any questions? (and contact details)

33

An introduction to the course

The aim of BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology is to train a new generation of conservation biologists, arming them with effective knowledge and practical skills to study and conserve biodiversity at home and abroad.

One of modern societys greatest challeng- es is the sustainable management of the world's biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides. The planets natural

capital is estimated to be worth trillions of

pounds each year to our economies, and governments and other organizations in- vest billions each year in conservation ac- tion. But well-qualified, competent biolo- gists are needed to make this investment count. This course provides training for jobs in government agencies, non- governmental organizations and consul- tancies. The combination of high-quality, experiential learning with opportunities

for skills development makes this course

ideal for a rewarding career in conserva- tion. In addition, the course provides an excellent basis for a career in ecotourism (the fastest-growing sector in tourism, it- self one of the worlds biggest industries).

it- self one of the world ’ s biggest industries). Observation and note - taking are

Observation and note-taking are valua- ble skills for a good conservation biologist.

At first, students

study the essentials of ecology, behav- iour, evolution, and

genetics. This

builds a solid foun- dation for under- standing how or- ganisms, popula- tions, species, com- munities and eco- systems function.

tions, species, com- munities and eco- systems function. Plymouth provides excellent access to coastal biodiversity.

Plymouth provides excellent access to coastal biodiversity. The course covers ma- rine, terrestrial and freshwater conservation.

Then students focus on specific skills and

techniques so that they can apply their bi-

ological knowledge to real-world conser- vation issues. In the middle of the degree, an optional placement year provides a great chance to gain hands-on conserva- tion experience in the UK and elsewhere. By the final year, each student carries out a personal research project and chooses more specialist conservation biology topics of particular interest.

The course is designed to be hands -on”,

with plenty of practical work. Not surpris- ingly, the course makes good use of the outstanding range of local habitats (from the marine reserves to Dartmoor National Parks uplands). The course has excellent links with conservation organizations such as the Devon Wildlife Trust, the Eden Pro-

ject and Dartmoor National Park. But, the course also promotes an international out- look, with field courses to Spain and Mexi- co, so that students can learn about con- servation in other parts of the world.

The BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology degree is taught by over 30 full-time lecturers, most of whom are specialists in conservation biology. They all carry out cutting-edge research as well as teach, so they speak from personal experience and are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their subject. They regularly incor- porate their own research into classes and encourage you to do your own research too. Few other universities offer this level of expertise and support. Some of these staff are personal tutors for conservation biology students, acting as a kind of men- tor, meeting up regularly to discuss the course, helping to sort out problems and offer advice on careers and opportunities.

The programme shares some classes with related degrees such as Marine Biology, Marine Biology & Coastal Ecology, Biologi-

Biology, Marine Biology & Coastal Ecology, Biologi- Several students have studied fire ecology of high -

Several students have studied fire ecology of high-altitude Andean grasslands, helping to conserve of one of the worlds biodiversity hotspots. (© Paul Ramsay)

cal Sciences, Animal Behaviour & Welfare, and Environmental Biotechnology.

BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology is accred- ited by the Royal Society of Biology, the UKs professional body for biologists. It guarantees the course is of high quality and provides potential employers with confidence that our graduates are well- trained and worth employing.

that our graduates are well - trained and worth employing. Lowland heaths have high conservation value

Lowland heaths have high conservation value in the UK. Here, final-year students are collecting invertebrates to assess the diversity in several different experimental areas. This kind of survey work helps to decide what kinds of conservation manage- ment work best. (© Paul Ramsay)

We expect our graduates to be knowl- edgeable, rational and creative, with the ability to put what they know into prac- tice. Their confidence, adaptability and in- dependence makes them readily employa- ble. But most important of all, our gradu-

ates will enjoy learning for the rest of their lives, whatever comes their way, and will be ready to play a responsible role in

society.

and will be ready to play a responsible role in society. Learning forest survey techniques in

Learning forest survey techniques in a mahogany plan- tation in Mexico. (© Paul Ramsay)

in a mahogany plan- tation in Mexico. (© Paul Ramsay) Conservation biology students in Mexico. (©

Conservation biology students in Mexico. (© Paul Ramsay)

Conservation biology students in Mexico. (© Paul Ramsay) Woodland invertebrate identification, Mount Edgcumbe Country

Woodland invertebrate identification, Mount Edgcumbe Country Park. (© Paul Ramsay)

Mount Edgcumbe Country Park. (© Paul Ramsay) One of the students “ rescuing ” Steve Burchett

One of the students rescuingSteve Burchett as part of a canopy access course. (© Paul Ramsay)

Conservation biologists who will teach you

Dr Rob Puschendorf Programme Leader

Research interests: ecological and evolutionary consequences of the loss of am- phibians in tropical areas, linked to the disease known as chytridiomycosis. Teaches: animal physiology and disease; conservation biology.

Dr Paul Ramsay Deputy Programme Leader

Research interests: biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable management of

terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems; mountain ecology.

Teaches: ecology, restoration ecology, statistics, scientific writing, field ecology (in the UK and overseas).

Dr Mairi Knight

Research interests: gene flow and dispersal in and between populations, species delineation, mating systems and speciation mechanisms. Teaches: molecular ecology and conservation genetics; field ecology (in the UK and overseas).

Dr Mick Hanley

Research interests: plant-animal interactions and their influence on ecosystem structure and function. Teaches: habitat management; conservation biology; field ecology (in the UK and overseas).

biology; field ecology (in the UK and overseas). Dr Jon Ellis Research interests: molecular ecology in
biology; field ecology (in the UK and overseas). Dr Jon Ellis Research interests: molecular ecology in

Dr Jon Ellis

Research interests: molecular ecology in connservation. Teaches: conservation biology and conservation genetics, molecular ecology, evo- lution & biodiversity, terrestrial invertebrate ecology, esp. insects and moss inver- tebrates.

Dr Alex Wilson

Research interests: marine and freshwater ecology Teaches: applied conservation biology, field biology, fish biology

Conservation biologists who will teach you

Dr Sarah Collins

Research interests: mate choice in birds and humans; the evolution of vocaliza- tions in birds; stress and animal welfare, how the social environment affects be- haviour. Teaches: animal behaviour, acoustics.

Prof. Dave Bilton

Research interests: aquatic biology; geographical distribution and evolutionary

differentiation of organisms.

Teaches: macroecology and biogeography; aquatic conservation; speciation; ar- thropod zoology.

Dr Andy Foggo

Research interests: spatial pattern in marine and freshwater organisms; plant and algal interactions with herbivores . Teaches: invertebrate ecology and identification; numeracy and statistics.

Prof. Camille Parmesan

Research interests: biological impacts of climate change in natural systems (one of the team awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 ). Teaches: impacts of climate change on ecosystems.

2007 ). Teaches: impacts of climate change on ecosystems. Dr Louise Firth Research interests: marine ecology
2007 ). Teaches: impacts of climate change on ecosystems. Dr Louise Firth Research interests: marine ecology

Dr Louise Firth

Research interests: marine ecology and conservation, restoration ecology Teaches: biodiversity and community ecology in urban and natural systems, re- sponses of organisms to global climate change

Dr Michael Thom

Research interests: behavioural ecology, especially sexual selection and the evolu- tionary consequences of mate choice and intrasexual competition among males. Teaches: behavioural ecology.

Conservation biologists who will teach you

Dr Kerry Howell

Research interests: deep-sea ecology, conservation and sustainable management; marine habitat mapping. Teaches: marine biology and conservation.

Dr Pete Cotton

Research interests: behavioural ecology; predator-prey interactions and contest

behaviour.

Teaches: vertebrate biology; evolution and animal behaviour.

Prof. Martin Attrill

Research interests: Conservation, management and marine renewable energy Teaches: Marine ecology, marine protected areas.

Prof. Michael Singer

Research interests: plant-insect interactions. Teaches: plant-insect interactions.

insect interactions. Teaches: plant - insect interactions. Dr Lucy Turner Research interests: marine ecolphysiology,
insect interactions. Teaches: plant - insect interactions. Dr Lucy Turner Research interests: marine ecolphysiology,

Dr Lucy Turner

Research interests: marine ecolphysiology, impacts of climate change. Teaches: ecology and physiology of marine organisms, impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.

Prof. Mark Briffa

Research interests: behavioural ecology, especially aggressive behaviours. Teaches: behavioural ecology; evolution & behaviour; ecology of shallow water marine habitats.

Conservation biologists who will teach you

Dr Abigail McQuatters-Gollop

Research interests: marine conservation and ecology, conservation policy. Teaches: marine conservation, bioindicators, conservation policy and science.

Prof. Richard Thompson

Research interests: plastic debris in the marine environment; ecology and conser-

vation of shallow water habitats; biodiversity of marine engineering projects.

Teaches: ecology of shallow water marine habitats; experimental marine ecology; field ecology; statistics.

Dr Clare Embling

Research interests: ecology and conservation of marine vertebrates, bioacoustics and the impact of noise on marine vertebrate behaviour. Teaches: ecology and conservation of marine vertebrates

Prof. Jason Hall-Spencer

Research interests: seamount ecology; fisheries; ocean acidification; aquaculture; conservation. Teaches: sublittoral ecology; fisheries science; macroalgae; climate change; ma- rine conservation.

science; macroalgae; climate change; ma- rine conservation. ? Dr Simon Ingram Research interests: conservation
?
?

Dr Simon Ingram

Research interests: conservation ecology of marine mammals. Teaches: marine biology; marine conservation.

Dr Stacey DeAmicis

Research interests: Marine botany, natural history and coastal ecology. Teaches: seagrass ecology, catchment management, and human impacts on coastal ecosystems .

Conservation biologists who will teach you

Conservation biologists who will teach you Dr Antony Knights Research interests: marine population dynamics and

Dr Antony Knights

Research interests: marine population dynamics and ecosystem-based manage- ment and risk assessment models. Teaches: marine population and community ecology.

Dr Benjamin Ciotti

Research interests: marine ecophysiology, fisheries biology.

Teaches: physiology and behaviour of marine animals, coastal ecology, fisheries

biology.

Prof. John Spicer

Research interests: marine ecophysiology. Teaches: physiology and ecology of marine organisms, biodiversity.

Other biologists who will teach you

Dr Katherine Herborn

Research interests: environmental impacts on animal welfare. Teaches: animal physiology.

Dr Anne Plessis

Research interests: environmental crop physiology. Teaches: plant physiology and biotechnology.

Dr Chiara Boschetti

Research interests: genomics, stress-resistant micro-organisms. Teaches: evolution, animal physi- ology, molecular biology

Dr Rich Boden

Research interests: ecophysiology and taxonomy of microbes. Teaches: microbiology; environ- mental pollution.

Teaches: microbiology; environ- mental pollution. Prof. Richard Handy Research interests: ecotoxicity of
Teaches: microbiology; environ- mental pollution. Prof. Richard Handy Research interests: ecotoxicity of

Prof. Richard Handy

Research interests: ecotoxicity of nanomaterials and metals. Teaches: animal physiology, eco- toxicology.

Dr Dan Merrifield

Research interests: fish nutrition; aquaculture. Teaches: fish nutrition; aquacul- ture.

Shaun Lewin

Research interests: mapping for conservation and environmental science. Teaches: geographic information systems, use of drone imagery.

Dr Rich Billington

Research interests: biochemical pharmacology; ecological bio- chemistry. Teaches: biochemistry.

Dr George Littlejohn

Research interests: plant diseases and imaging. Teaches: plant physiology and biotechnology.

Dr Alistair Bishop

Research interests: microbiology. Teaches: microbiology.

Research interests: microbiology. Teaches: microbiology. Prof. Awadhesh Jha Research interests: molecular

Prof. Awadhesh Jha

Research interests: molecular genetics; ecotoxicology. Teaches:

physiology; ecotoxicology.

A wide range of guest speakers

Most weeks during term time, we invite ay least one speaker from another university or relevant organization to tell us about their work. We also organize careers sessions with invited professionals who can talk about their careers and what it is really like to work as a conservation biologist.

The support team

Chris Scanlon

Senior Support Administrator Coordination of support from our School Office.

Jenny Hicks

Clerical Assistant Student support from our School Office.

Jane Akerman

Senior Ecology Technician Assistance in field and labora- tory; equipment supplies.

Richard Ticehurst

Senior Technician for Marine Biology Assistance in field and labora- tory; equipment supplies.

Assistance in field and labora- tory; equipment supplies. Darren Crosby Biology Senior Administrator Central record

Darren Crosby

Biology Senior Administrator Central record-keeping and administration for the degree course.

record - keeping and administration for the degree course. Kim Davis Information Specialist Assistance with library

Kim Davis

Information Specialist Assistance with library use and resources.

Specialist Assistance with library use and resources. Matthew Hoddinott School Technical Manager Coordinates

Matthew Hoddinott

School Technical Manager Coordinates the technical staff to assist with teaching and research.

Donna Wells

Assistant Administrator Student support from our School Office.

Fliss Thom

Senior Ecology Technician Assistance in field and labora- tory; equipment supplies.

Assistance in field and labora- tory; equipment supplies. Alex Fraser Senior Technician for Marine Biology

Alex Fraser

Senior Technician for Marine Biology Assistance in field and labora- tory; equipment supplies.

Alison Austin

Placements and Employer Liaison Placement year assistance and administration.

Liaison P lacement year assistance and administration. Claire Guy Careers Advisor Provides information support

Claire Guy

Careers Advisor Provides information support and skills training.

Course structure

Taught material will be given during two 13-week teaching periods, each followed by an exam period. You should not make other plans for weeks in which teaching or assessments are scheduled (including field courses, see later). This course meets the academic standards set out in the National Subject Benchmark Statement for Biosciences, and is recognized by the Society of Biology.

First Year modules

choose one from two options

Professional Development in Sciences 1Biological

Introduction to Conservation Biology

Ecology and the Diversity of Life

Principles of

Physiology

Field

Biology

Evolution and

Behaviour

Cells: the Building Blocks of Life

Second Year modules

choose one from two options

Professional Development in Sciences 2Biological

Ecology

Ecology Field Course

Animal Behaviour

Methods in Behaviour & Conservation

Principles of Conservation Biology

Environmental Plant Physiology

Human Impacts on Aquatic Ecosystems

Placement Year

optional six months or more of work experience in conservation biology

Final Year modules

choose two from five options

Personal Research (final year project)

Applied Conservation Biology

Advanced Skills & Concepts

Behavioural Ecology

Ecology and Conservation of Marine Vertebrates

Global Change Biology

Plant Biotechnology

First year module descriptions

First Year

choice of one from two options

BIOL135Z Introduction to Conservation Biology

This module is designed to give you some fundamental basic skills and information to help you start to become an independent biologist. The module will cover data and information gathering, analysis, evaluation and presentation. Much of the module will be based around field/lab activities providing you with data for analysis and presentation.

100% coursework

BIOL132Z Ecology and the Diversity of Life

50% coursework and 50% exam

This module introduces the fundamental principles of ecology and the diversity of life. It examines patterns of life on Earth, past and present, and how an understanding of these supports efforts to conserve biodiversity and manage resources sustainably. The module also provides an overview of the domains of life on Earth, introducing the remark- able variety of organisms with which we share the planet.

BIOL133Z Principles of Physiology

50% coursework and 50% exam

This module is an introduction to the fundamental principles of comparative physiology, and the structure and function of the body systems of plants and fungi as well as animals. The module also introduces the concept of environmental physiology, how organisms respond to their environment.

50% coursework and 50% exam

Covers the principles underpinning evolution with a special focus on animal behaviour as adaptive traits. Module covers concepts of the genetic basis of inheritance, population genetics, selection, adaptation, function, fitness and speciation. We will use key examples and practical classes to illustrate key ideas and consider the development of some of the ideas in a historical context.

MBIO161Z Evolution and Behaviour

BIOL131Z Cells: the Building Blocks of Life

50% coursework and 50% exam

This module will introduce you to the structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and the various processes of cell biology that allow different cells to do different things including some of the highly specialised cells required in multi- cellular organisms. The module will then focus on the biochemical basis that underlies cell function introducing you to metabolic pathways and the biomacromolecules that allow cells to work the way they do.

BIOL123Z Field Biology

60% coursework and 40% in-class test

Introduces the main ecosystem types, emphasising the diversity of ecosystem types throughout the globe. Includes a residential field course to Andalucía in Southern Spain, where students work on their natural history and taxonomy skills, and design and present their own short experimental projects.

BIOL129 Professional Development in Biological Sciences 1

A portfolio of professional skills related to the course, developed during the year on the other modules.

pass/fail

developed during the year on the other modules. pass/fail Lab work at Plymouth. Giraffes at Paignton

Lab work at Plymouth.

year on the other modules. pass/fail Lab work at Plymouth. Giraffes at Paignton Zoo. A “

Giraffes at Paignton Zoo.

pass/fail Lab work at Plymouth. Giraffes at Paignton Zoo. A “ fungus foray ” near Plymouth.

A fungus foraynear Plymouth.

Field work from Plymouth (First Year)

During the first year, you will have the opportunity to carry out a variety of field trips to develop your skills. These can vary a little from year to year, but here is a good idea of the kind of thing you can expect. The tuition fees you pay cover the cost.

you can expect. The tuition fees you pay cover the cost. Survey of Ideford Common SSSI.

Survey of Ideford Common SSSI. The lowland heath of Ideford Common is consid- ered of special importance for its invertebrates. However, some of the rare species are disappearing from the site. Some experimental management trials were started several years ago, and we carry out an annual survey to see what is happening. The results are given to the site managers to help them refine their management plan for the site. (© Paul Ramsay)

refine their management plan for the site. (© Paul Ramsay) Vist ot the Eden Project, Cornwall.

Vist ot the Eden Project, Cornwall. Good communication with the public is an important part of science. The Eden Project is a famous example of an attraction that engages the public in the science of biodiversity conservation. During this visit, you will appreciate the range of species and habitats it contains and consider the value of places like this for conservation in a wider sense. (© John Moody)

like this for conservation in a wider sense. (© John Moody) Visit to Paignton Zoo. We

Visit to Paignton Zoo. We work closely with several local zoos, and this is the largest of them. On this visit, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the zoo, its animals and various approaches to studying animal behaviour and their welfare. (© Sarah Collins)

animal behaviour and their welfare. (© Sarah Collins) Field work is great fun. Although the science

Field work is great fun. Although the science is serious and the results valuable, we enjoy ourselves. Field work is a great opportunity to develop all kinds of skills (like team working). (© Pete Smithers)

all kinds of skills (like team working). (© Pete Smithers) Rocky shore ecology, Plymouth. Of course,

Rocky shore ecology, Plymouth. Of course, Plymouth provides an ideal location for looking at coastal habitats and biodiversity.

location for looking at coastal habitats and biodiversity. Dartmoor ecology and management. We have many nationally

Dartmoor ecology and management. We have many nationally and internationally important reserves on our doorstep. Dartmoor National Park is one of the biggest.

our doorstep. Dartmoor National Park is one of the biggest. Pollution monitoring at Cadover Bridge ,

Pollution monitoring at Cadover Bridge , Dartmoor. You will assess water quality and the use of freshwater invertebrates, like this dragonfly nymph, as indicators.

Field course in Spain (First Year)

This compulsory residential field course takes place after Easter. It gives you first-hand experience of a range of ecosystems, and is a lot of fun. It is also a great opportunity to get to know your col- leagues and lecturers. Theres no extra to pay: its all included with- in your tuition fees! See the video here.

included with- in your tuition fees! See the video here . The field course location offers

The field course location offers a wide variety of habitats and species to investigate.

a wide variety of habitats and species to investigate. A team of students carrying out a

A team of students carrying out a field study in an Andalusian dune system.

carrying out a field study in an Andalusian dune system. One of the key habitats in
carrying out a field study in an Andalusian dune system. One of the key habitats in

One of the key habitats in southern Spain is the Mediterranean vegetation, dominated by shrubs.

Spain is the Mediterranean vegetation, dominated by shrubs. The field course continues into the evening, over

The field course continues into the evening, over food and drink

field course continues into the evening, over food and drink The impact of habitat management on

The impact of habitat management on biodiversity is also considered, such as grazing (left) and fire (right).

Second year module descriptions

Second Year

choose one from two options

BIOL214Z Ecology

30% coursework, 20% in-class test and 50% exam

An understanding of basic concepts is needed to solve ecological problems. This module explores key concepts in ecology at the levels of individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. The concepts are supported with ex- amples taken from terrestrial and aquatic systems.

BIOL219Z Ecology Field Course

50% coursework and 50% in-class test

This module employs a two-week-long residential field course to familiarise students with the history, structure and function of a range of ecosystems not found in the UK. Students have the opportunity to develop their field biology skills through a variety of exercises at individual organism to community level scales.

BIOL205Z Animal Behaviour

50% coursework and 50% exam

The four key questions concerning the causation, development, function and evolution of behaviour will be exam- ined. We will cover how animals communicate, find a mate, form social groups, develop, find food etc., and why there are differences between species.

BIOL215Z Methods in Behaviour & Conservation

100% coursework

Provides core skills and techniques that will equip students to perform field and laboratory studies in biology. Stu- dents will be introduced to the appropriate methodologies for the collection, handling and analysis of data; the scien- tific principles underlying experimental design; and the effective communication of scientific information.

BIOL204Z Principles of Conservation Biology

50% coursework and 50% exam

The underpinning theoretical concepts of conservation biology: population and community ecology, the genetics of small populations, and behavioural ecology.

BIOL225Z Professional Development in Biological Sciences 2

A portfolio of professional skills related to the course, developed during the year on the other modules.

pass/fail

BIOL217Z Environmental Plant Physiology

50% coursework and 50% exam

Considers plant-environment interactions in specific habitats, including those affected by human activity.

MBIO220Z Applied Aquatic Biology

50% coursework and 50% exam

Introduces the main effects that humans have on key freshwater and marine ecosystems throughout the globe, as well as strategies for the monitoring, conservation and sustainable use of these systems.

Field course in Mexico (Second Year)

This compulsory residential field course takes place at the end of November, when 14 days in the tropical sun is a welcome relief from the British winter. You will see a range of tropical ecosystems and many of the animals and plants that live there. It is one of the highlights of the degree and its included within your tuition fees!

the degree and it ’ s included within your tuition fees! Identification of tropical tree species
the degree and it ’ s included within your tuition fees! Identification of tropical tree species
the degree and it ’ s included within your tuition fees! Identification of tropical tree species
the degree and it ’ s included within your tuition fees! Identification of tropical tree species
the degree and it ’ s included within your tuition fees! Identification of tropical tree species
the degree and it ’ s included within your tuition fees! Identification of tropical tree species

Identification of tropical tree species from bark characteristics, Puerto Morelos.

A selection of animals, Alfredo Barrera Botanical Garden, Puerto Morelos.
A selection of animals, Alfredo Barrera Botanical Garden, Puerto Morelos.
animals, Alfredo Barrera Botanical Garden, Puerto Morelos. Rainforest survey and ecology. Environmental assessment of
animals, Alfredo Barrera Botanical Garden, Puerto Morelos. Rainforest survey and ecology. Environmental assessment of

Rainforest survey and ecology.

Garden, Puerto Morelos. Rainforest survey and ecology. Environmental assessment of tourist development at Mahahual.

Environmental assessment of tourist development at Mahahual.

Environmental assessment of tourist development at Mahahual. ECOSUR research station. Birdwatching in the mangroves,

ECOSUR research

station.

tourist development at Mahahual. ECOSUR research station. Birdwatching in the mangroves, Laguna Guerrero. Ant - plant

Birdwatching in the mangroves, Laguna Guerrero.

station. Birdwatching in the mangroves, Laguna Guerrero. Ant - plant interactions are the focus of several

Ant-plant interactions are the focus of several activities.

- plant interactions are the focus of several activities. Swimming in a cenote. Hardwood sawmill at

Swimming in a cenote.

are the focus of several activities. Swimming in a cenote. Hardwood sawmill at X - Hazil.

Hardwood sawmill at X-Hazil.

Swimming in a cenote. Hardwood sawmill at X - Hazil. Leaf - cutting ant study at

Leaf-cutting ant study at Dzibanché Mayan ruins.

Optional placement year

One way to develop new skills is to take a placement year between the second and final year of the course. Most of our students do this, helped by staff to find suitable positions that enhance their job prospects. If you are thinking of taking a gap-year before starting university, you might want to consider postponing it for a couple of years and do our placement year instead. The quality of the experi- ence is usually better and, with the extra maturity that comes from

two yearsuniversity education, you will get more out of it. Here is

a selection of recent placements on Conservation Biology:

Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area, Devon Wildlife Trust, Devon Development of educational materials for schools
Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area, Devon Wildlife Trust,
Devon
Development of educational materials for schools and university
courses, with LabPlus, Plymouth University
Research Assistant, with Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Hampshire Countryside Ranger in the South Hams
Research Assistant, with Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust,
Hampshire
Countryside Ranger in the South Hams of Devon, with Teignbridge
District Council
Scientific observer on fishing vessels, with States of Jersey Depart- ment of the Environment Surveys
Scientific observer on fishing vessels, with States of Jersey Depart-
ment of the Environment
Surveys of forest microscopic animals and related laboratory identi-
fication for forest habitats, Japan
Assistant to Senior Reserves Manager, with Natural England, East Sussex Ecology and conservation of high-altitude
Assistant to Senior Reserves Manager, with Natural England, East
Sussex
Ecology and conservation of high-altitude Andean ecosystems,
Huascarán National Park (Peru) & El Angel Reserve (Ecuador).

Final year module descriptions

Final Year

choose two from five options

BIOL315Z Personal Research

40 credits, 100% coursework

Comprises a research study which includes collecting, analysing and interpreting data, researching the relevant litera- ture, and writing a report. (40 credits).

100% coursework

Teaches advanced skills in a number of areas aligned with the degree programme. Students choose three podulesfrom six to eight options which might include, for example, GIS, bat survey and ecology, sustainable forest ecosys- tems, species distribution modelling, invertebrate ID and ecology, citizen science.

BIOL307Z Advanced Skills & Concepts

BIOL308Z Applied Conservation Biology

30% coursework and 70% exam

Focuses on the application of biological theory to successfully managing populations in both wild and captive envi- ronments. The emphasis is on gaining a working knowledge of the major analytical tools, techniques and software that are currently available to practicing conservation biologists.

BIOL301Z Plant Biotechnology

30% coursework and 70% exam

Explores key current aspects, issues, and trends in the growth and uses of plants and their derivatives.

MBIO320Z Ecology and Conservation of Marine Vertebrates

30% coursework and 70% exam

Discussion of recent advances in selected topics within aquatic biology. There is a strong emphasis on critical evalua- tion of relevant primary literature.

BIOL310Z Global Change Biology

30% coursework and 70% exam

In a changing world, conservation priorities and approaches need to be flexible to be fit for purpose. This module will explore topical developments and issues in the variety of contexts that compose conservation biology.

MBIO317Z Behavioural Ecology

30% coursework and 70% exam

Examines the theory underpinning key conceptual models in behavioural ecology (e.g. optimal foraging, ideal free distribution, game theory). Models are critically discussed in relation to empirical studies.

Final-year research projects

In the final year of the degree, all of our students (not just a chosen few) carry out their own personal research project. Here is a selec- tion of recent projects, illustrating the range you can expect. The topics are selected to make the most of staff and student expertise, but vary from year to year, reflecting current opportunities.

Soil macrofauna biodiversity across woodland-heathland boundaries in the New Forest The effects of pesticides on
Soil macrofauna biodiversity across woodland-heathland
boundaries in the New Forest
The effects of pesticides on behaviour of British insects
Explaining leopard predation using Global Positioning System tracking collars and habitat analysis Sighting frequency of
Explaining leopard predation using Global Positioning
System tracking collars and habitat analysis
Sighting frequency of Pelagic Thresher shark, Manta Ray
and Grey Reef Shark at Monad Shoal, Philippines
Temporal changes in occupancy, diet and prey abundance of urban wall spiders in Plymouth, UK
Temporal changes in occupancy, diet and prey abundance
of urban wall spiders in Plymouth, UK
A comparison of spring leaf phenology in trees
at Widey Woods, Plymouth
The public's attitude, awareness and knowledge of sea turtle conservation The distribution of British butterflies:
The public's attitude, awareness and knowledge of sea
turtle conservation
The distribution of British butterflies: sampling intensity
and current trends

RSB Accreditation

BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, the UKs professional body for biologists. It shows the course is of high quality and graduates from it can be trusted as professionals in their field.

Accreditation is a useful badge of quality for our courses and the students who graduate from them. It guarantees the course is of high quality and employ- ers can be confident that our students know what they are doing. Accreditation applies to all students graduating from the course, and remains current until 2022, when it will need to be reviewed.

The accreditation team visited us in 2017 and were particularly complimentary about certain aspects of the degree. For a start, they were very impressed with the students they met. They also highlighted several things that they thought stood out when they com- pared us to other universities:

Creative thinking is embedded naturally within our degree programmes and we were outstanding in providing an environment where it was nur- tured and valued. Creative thinking is one of the top three things employers of biology graduates look for.

LabPlus provides our students with a unique facili- ty. It is a cross between a library and a laboratory. Students can turn up and check out particular ma- terials to work with in their own time, making use of specialist equipment such as microscopes, and following custom-made study packs to get the most out of the experience.

Final-year projects are allocated in a way that offers students a wide range of possibilities, mak- ing this crucial part of the degree a more valuable learning experience.

Final-year podules, although costly for us to run, are especially useful for giving our students em- ployability advantages across a diverse set of top- ics.

The Royal Society of Biologys scheme of Continu- ing Professional Development is built into our cur- riculum. Students gather at least 50 points per year for professional activities they do both within the course and of their own accord in their own time. It demonstrates the professional nature of our graduates and highlights their skillset.

Our top graduating student across our biology de- grees will have the opportunity to receive a prize from the RSB at their annual meeting of accredited de- grees. In recent years, those awards were made inside the Palace of Westminster. All graduates get a year of free membership of the Royal Society of Biology, which grants them access to extra information about career opportunities and developments in biology. They are also able to put it on their cv, and get to use the letters AMRSB after their name.

also able to put it on their cv, and get to use the letters AMRSB after
also able to put it on their cv, and get to use the letters AMRSB after
also able to put it on their cv, and get to use the letters AMRSB after
also able to put it on their cv, and get to use the letters AMRSB after

Entry requirements

We are willing to look at a variety of qualifications and experience, but the applicants ability to complete the course is key. Up-to-the- minute entry requirements can be found on our website, or from the admissions team: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

A-levels We require UCAS points of 112128 (typically 120) to include one A-level at grade B in biology, environmental science or environmental studies and another A-level grade C in either mathe- matics, physics, biology, environmental science, environmental studies, psychology, geography, geology, applied science or chemistry. Please note that we do not consider general studies.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma /QCF Extended Diploma in animal management, applied science or other relevant subjects We require 128144 points (DDM–DDD) but we will consider each applicant on an individual basis because it depends on the exact units studied. If you have any queries or concerns, particularly when making your unit choices, please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

International Baccalaureate We require 30 diploma points overall, to include 5 at Higher Level Biology plus 5 in a second science at Higher Level. English and mathematics must be included.

All Access To Higher Education diplomas in sci- ence subjects We require 33 credits at Level 3 in biology and science based units, with at least 33 credits at merit and to include at least 12 credits in biology units with merit. The remaining merits should be biology/science-related, with GCSE English and Mathematics grade C or above, or equivalent.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary, as well as our English lan- guage requirements.

Most of our students come directly from school or college, with an average points score above what we require. However, not everyone does as well as they hope at school or college—for a variety of reasons—

and we are happy to consider students with different

qualification backgrounds.

have traditional qualifications, our BSc (Hons) Biology

with Foundation Year programme provides a route onto the BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology degree. Please note that we do interview some applicants, at the Admissions Tutor's discretion. All applicants are expected to have GCSE Mathematics and GCSE Eng- lish, or equivalents.

For candidates that do not

Students may be allowed to transfer from a sisterdegree: Marine Biology, Biological Sciences , Animal Behaviour & Welfare. Transfers in the other direction may also be permitted. All transfers depend on the availability of places and at the discretion of the rele- vant programme leader.

Entry into the second year of Conservation Biology will be considered for holders of an FdSc in an appro- priate subject, or with a completed first year of a simi- lar degree at another university.

We have exchange schemes with universities in other countries, including continental Europe, the USA and Canada. Students may spend all or part of the second year on such a scheme.

USA and Canada. Students may spend all or part of the second year on such a
USA and Canada. Students may spend all or part of the second year on such a
USA and Canada. Students may spend all or part of the second year on such a
USA and Canada. Students may spend all or part of the second year on such a

Career opportunities

There are solid job prospects for students with good degrees in conservation biology. You might be surprised by the range of ca- reers. But, one thing is clear: students who work hard during their degree have the best chances to get the careers they want.

Conservation management

Jobs in this category involve managing habitats for biodiversity conservation. They are largely responsible for managing protected reserve networks and working with landowners to achieve conservation benefits.

A variety of employers operate in this field. National and local government em- ploy teams of conservation scientists to advise them and make decisions where conservation is an important considera-

tion. Some of this work is contracted out

to private companies who do some of this

work on behalf of government. Then there are the non-governmental conservation organizations, such as the wildlife trusts, RSPB, and WWF. As you might imagine, they are frequently looking for good con- servation biologists.

(Although there are plenty of manual jobs associated with conservation work, they do not pay very well and do not need someone to hold a degree. We do not ex- pect our graduates to be looking for these kinds of jobs.)

Consultancy

Conservation biologists operate in the business world within the wider frame- work of environmental consultancy. Such

consultants work, directly or indirectly, for construction, engineering, mining compa- nies and others to ensure their projects

are environmentally sound. The consult-

ants also advise on ways to balance nega-

tive impacts with more positive action.

Ecotourism

The ecotourism market makes up 6% of the GDP all over the world. The yearly growth rate is about 5%. But it needs qual- ified personnel to design and lead opera- tions. One definition of ecotourism is "the practice of low-impact, educational, eco-

logically and culturally sensitive travel that

benefits local communities and host coun- tries." Many of the ecotourism projects are not meeting these standards. Is this something you would like to change?

Conservation research

Around 1020% of our students go on to do postgraduate studies in conservation biology. These careers can be immensely

rewarding, but are only options for the

best graduates.

UK or overseas?

You will see that these careers transfer easily to other parts of the world. Many of our students work abroad, or come to us from other countries before returning home at the end of their degree.

Facilities at Plymouth University

Plymouth University is one of the largest in the UK, with more than 25,000 students. As you would expect, we have cutting-edge re- search and teaching facilities, but there is plenty more on offer.

and teaching facilities, but there is plenty more on offer. You will be taught in state

You will be taught in state-of-the-art teaching labora- tories, with access to specialist research facilities for particular projects.

to specialist research facilities for particular projects. It ’ s not all work. There ’ s

Its not all work. Theres time for relaxation with friends, too.

all work. There ’ s time for relaxation with friends, too. There is always lots going

There is always lots going on around the campus from careers fairs to art exhibitions. For example, in late 2013, we hosted an exhibition about Alfred Wallace, one of the great Victorian natural historians.

Extra-curricular activities

The course aims to provide essential training for conservation biol- ogists, but it should be balanced with activities away from the lec- ture theatre and lab. We encourage all kinds of activities which look good on your resumé, but most of all are really fun to do!

good on your resumé, but most of all are really fun to do! A trip behind

A trip behind the scenes at Londons Natural History Museum with our Zoological Society.

’ s Natural History Museum with our Zoological Society. The OPAL South - West team is

The OPAL South-West team is based with us, and runs all kinds of biodiversity-related events for the public.

all kinds of biodiversity - related events for the public. Students at Dartmoor Zoo with Ben

Students at Dartmoor Zoo with Ben Mee, recently played by Matt Damon in the Hollywood film We Bought A Zoo”.

Matt Damon in the Hollywood film “ We Bought A Zoo ”. Conservation Biology student volunteers

Conservation Biology student volunteers help with an invertebrate open day at the University.

If you would like to see more of what is happening in our biology group at Plym- outh University, visit our blog. Its regu- larly updated with stories from staff and students, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world:

Our marine conservation charity

In partnership with the Ocean Giants Trust, and with our colleagues in marine biology, we have opportunities for our students to apply for funded scholarships to develop a marine conservation charity in Plymouth.

Our charity works alongside five marine conservation charities:

charity works alongside five marine conservation charities: Each year, five students from several relevant degrees
charity works alongside five marine conservation charities: Each year, five students from several relevant degrees
charity works alongside five marine conservation charities: Each year, five students from several relevant degrees
charity works alongside five marine conservation charities: Each year, five students from several relevant degrees
charity works alongside five marine conservation charities: Each year, five students from several relevant degrees

Each year, five students from several relevant degrees (including Conservation Biology) will be selected to receive scholarships and help to develop the charities activities. These students will receive training on how to run a conservation charity from the Ocean Gi- ants Trust, and will work throughout their degree to raise funds and develop research to support our conservation partners.

There will be opportunities for other students to get involved with

fund-raising, research and trips to work in the field.

Around Plymouth

Plymouth is a great location for a degree in conservation biology. It combines the advantages of a city without the drawbacks of a very large city. It is surrounded by spectacular scenery, and a wide range of habitat types. Whether for professional reasons, or your own personal enjoyment, life in Plymouth is hard to beat!

reasons, or your own personal enjoyment, life in Plymouth is hard to beat! BSc (Hons) Conservation

Conservation biology research

Your course is given by active scientists who do cutting-edge re- search. In terms of conservation biology, our research group works on a wide range of topics, and we have an active postgraduate pro- gramme, with more than 40 PhD and 30 masters students in our School.

This means that you are taught by people who know what they are talking about, rather than teachers who are passing on things they read in textbooks. Our staff can help you with your own career in conservation biology. You will see from our staff list that you can learn from all kinds of conservation biologists, one of the biggest teams you will find in any UK university. We do not pass our teach- ing on to postgraduate students—we do it ourselves. And we are all qualified teachers.

Since we are all professional scientists, we want you to contribute to science yourself. Therefore, we encourage you to get involved in research from the start of your course. Rather than giving you exercisesmerely for the sake of doing some- thing, we offer you the opportunity to get involved in real-world conserva- tion projects. You can help out with existing research projects in your spare time, and if you fancy volunteer- ing, we can help you find genuine con- servation projects around the world, including the UK, of course. Routinely, we include our own research in our

teaching. It makes it more meaningful for you and for us.

Detailed measurement of the characteristics of invasive species helps us to understand why they are
Detailed measurement of the characteristics of
invasive species helps us to understand why
they are a problem and suggests ways to
manage them.

Scientific publications with students

Scientific publications with students An indication of the quality of our course is that our undergraduate

An indication of the quality of our course is that our undergraduate students regularly produce outstanding research. As you have seen, our staff are active researchers them- selves, and you can look up their publi- cations on our web pages. But they will also encourage you to publish your

work if it is good enough. Apart from

the warm glow it gives you, it looks great on your cv! Here are some re- cent examples of published work by conservation biology students with staff in the scientific literature.

Hanley ME, Franco M, Dean CE, Franklin EL, Har- ris HR, Haynes AG, Rapson SR, Rowse G, Thomas KC, Waterhouse BR & Knight ME

(2011) Increased bumblebee abundance

along the margins of a mass flowering crop:

evidence for pollinator spill-over. Oikos, 120:

16181624.

Hanley ME & Wilkins JP (2015) On the verge? Preferential use of road-facing hedgerow margins by bumblebees in agro-ecosystems. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19: 6774.

Pitman RT, Kilian PJ, Ramsay PM & Swanepoel

LH (2013) Foraging and habitat specialization by female leopards (Panthera pardus) in the

Pitman RT, Mulvaney J, Ramsay PM, Jooste E & Swanepoel LH (2014) Global Positioning Sys- tem-located kills and faecal samples: a com- parison of leopard (Panthera pardus) dietary estimates. Journal of Zoology, 292: 1824.

Pitman RT, Swanepoel LH & Ramsay PM (2012) Predictive modelling of leopard predation us- ing contextual Global Positioning System clus- ter analysis. Journal of Zoology, 288: 222230.

Waterberg Mountains of South Africa. South

African Journal of Wildlife Research, 43: 167

176.

Sutton L & Puschendorf R (2018) Climatic niche

of the Saker Falcon Falco cherrug: predicted new areas to direct population surveys in Central Asia. Ibis.

Other work is published each year in our own scientific journal, The Plymouth Student Scientist. Follow this link to see the latest issue:

Not sure yet?

Choosing the right university for you is important. Other universi- ties offer conservation biology courses, and maybe they would suit you better. However, before you make your mind up, make sure you have asked some good questions about the courses.

Is the course accredited by the RSB?

Not all university courses in conservation biology are accredited. BSc Conservation Biology at Plymouth is

accredited , which guarantees the course

meets the quality standards of the UKs professional body for biology.

How many conservation biology staff teach on the course? Are they active re- searchers? Are parts of the course taught by teaching assistants or postgraduate students, rather than the lecturers? Some universities employ very able re- searchers, but students rarely meet them.

For parts of the course, they are taught by

postgraduate students or lecturers who are paid just to teach. Other universities employ lecturers who do no research of their own. If you want to be taught by ac- tive conservation biologists, check the publications of the teaching staff. All the lecturers who teach BSc Conserva- tion Biology at Plymouth are active re- searchers and regularly publish in interna- tional, peer-reviewed journals. They rou-

tinely include their research in their teach-

ing, and students are able to join in some of that research themselves. Every year some of the students publish in interna- tionally-respected journals too.

How much fieldwork does the course in-

clude and in what range of habitats? The location of many universities limits the kinds of fieldwork they can do. The aca-

demic year causes problems for all conser-

vation biology courses in the UK because most of the teaching happens over the winter months. What does the course offer to get round this problem? In our course, we pack as much fieldwork as we can into the early part of the first term, and use the winter months for extra trips to look at things which are not so

badly affected by the seasons. We have an amazing variety of habitats on our door-

step. In addition, we escape from the

British climate on overseas field courses.

Will you be charged extra for field courses? Most universities charge their students ex- tra for field courses. This can be more than £1000 for an overseas destination. On our course, both field courses (a week in Spain and two weeks in Mexico) are completely covered by your tuition fees.

Does the course offer placement opportu- nities? For how long? Some courses do not offer placements at all, while others include short work- experience modules of limited value. Our experience is that employers are not really interested in short-term placements of 4

6 weeks. Our placement scheme is for a minimum of six months (though two three-month placements are also acceptable). We work closely with our partner organizations to ensure the experience is worthwhile for employer and student. Sometimes we plan long-term projects across several years of placements to achieve useful conservation

goals for all parties. We also avoid place-

ments that use volunteers to replace paid staff positions—this would not be good for our students when they are looking for paid jobs when they graduate!

Does everyone get to do a final-year research project? Some universities restrict this important part of the degree to those students who get the best marks in the rest of the course. Sometimes, less than half the stu- dents do research projects. All students do a final-year research pro- ject on BSc Conservation Biology at Plym- outh University.

What is student satisfaction like for the course? Some courses are better than others. League tables are not easy to interpret well (they often measure things badly), but they are worth looking at, for a rough

idea of course quality. Check out the facts

and figures before making your choice. Plymouth Universitys BSc Conservation Biology is rated well above average for UK degrees. We take the student experience very seriously. In fact, the course has been held up as a model within the university,

since the scores have been so good.

What are the career prospects like for the course, and how well will you be pre- pared for a real-world job when you leave? Check out the facts and figures for the courses and then make up your mind. You should ask whether the course includes those key skills that employers want (such as communication and numeracy). Is there

a clear attempt throughout the course to

cover such skills and provide you with practical experience along the way? Employability should be an important part of your decision-making process. Many people are surprised at how many conser-

vation biology jobs are available, but only the well-qualified stand a chance of getting them. Our course provides a good starting point, but we encourage all of our students to make themselves into attrac-

tive employees with additional activities

like conservation volunteering, working with the public, and active skills develop- ment. Our students have all kinds of op- portunities throughout the degree to do

these things.

Are you going to enjoy the course? This is not as trivial as you might suppose. Students who love their subject (and the course they are doing) tend to get the best grades, and then the best jobs. So choose a course you will enjoy doing. We think our course is great! The vast ma- jority of our students agree. Now you have had a chance to see some detail about the course, we hope this course will be just what you are looking for.

Any questions?

Any questions? We have tried to answer your questions here, but we might have missed something.

We have tried to answer your questions here, but we might have missed something. If you havent already visited us, you can come along to an Open Day or Applicant Day and speak to staff and stu- dents in person—check out the website for details. Or, for specific questions relating to the course, feel free to email the course leader, Dr Rob Puschendorf (rpuschendorf@plymouth.ac.uk). For more gen- eral admissions enquiries, contact biolsci@plymouth.ac.uk.

We hope to see you on the course soon