Biology 463, Conservation Biology                                                       Spring 2006

Instructor:  Jim Taulman


General Information


Course Description – This course examines current threats to biodiversity worldwide.  Strategies for protecting, preserving, and restoring endangered species and communities are discussed.


Prerequisite – General Biology 154, 164 and Ecology, Bio 223, or permission of the instructor.


Learning Objectives – The student will learn the importance of healthy and diverse plant and animal communities.  The main threats to biodiversity will be studied.  Through exposure to a variety of perspectives on protecting and preserving native species and ecosystems, the student will become familiar with ways of thinking strategically about conservation. Evaluation will be made through scheduled exams and through the student’s individual work on a research project.


Conferences – Student conferences will be by appointment.  If you need to meet with me email or call and set up a time to meet before or after class.  I can be contacted at:  605-745-3959 or by email at:


Attendance – You should make a commitment to come to every class on time.  If you have a schedule conflict with this class and are not going to be able to attend class regularly, drop it and take it again another semester.  If you are regularly late, your grade will reflect that lack of interest in the class.  Partial attendance will accumulate to class absences.  If you miss half of the 3 hour class you will not get credit for attending that class.


This class will be delivered simultaneously to at least 2 college centers.  Class meetings will be handled either through the pictel system or partly through online communications.  It is not fully developed as an online course at this time. 


Book – The text for this course is Principles of Conservation Biology, by Groom, Meffe, Carroll, and others.  It is available in the bookstore at Piya Wiconi.


Homework – Work assignments will consist of reading and being familiar with chapters in the textbook and contributing to discussions during each class period.  Individuals will be asked to explain and interpret ideas described in chapters covered each class period. 


Grading – Three tests will be given.  These exams will count for 75% of the final grade.  The remaining 25% of the grade will consist of an individual research report. 


A = 90 - 100

B = 80 - 89

C = 70 - 79

D = 60 – 69

F = 59 and below


Reports – During the semester each person will undertake an original research project presenting the present threat and conservation strategies for ensuring the persistence of an endangered species in our area.  During the last class period before the final exam each person will share with the class information about that project and including any interesting results that arose from it. 


This project can incorporate a variety of sources of information, including scientific literature, reference books, consultation with experts in the particular species under investigation, and personal field work to learn more about the species.  Presentation of results will be in scientific format with separate sections for Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Literature Cited.  An oral presentation of the results of the project will be given and the student may create a PowerPoint presentation if desired.  The grade on this project will reflect the level of effort that went into completing it.


Guest speakers – I will attempt to schedule local experts on particular areas of conservation biology to come to class and provide a perspective on their work.
Conservation Biology, Biology 463                               Instructor:  Jim Taulman

Spring 2006



Week 1 – Jan. 25         Introduction


Week 2 – Feb. 1          What is Conservation Biology                           1 and 2

                                    Global Biodiversity      


Week 3 – Feb. 8          Overexploitation                                                           8


Week 4 – Feb. 15        Species Invasions                                                         9


Week 5 – Feb. 22        Test #1, Discuss Reports


Week 6 – Mar. 1         Climate Change                                                            10


Week 7 – Mar. 8         Species and Landscape Approaches

                                    to Conservation                                                            12


Week 8 – Mar. 15       Ecosystem Approaches to Conservation                       13


Week 9 – Mar. 22       Protected Areas, Restoration of Damaged                     14 and 15

                                    Ecosystems and Endangered Populations                     


Week 10 – Mar. 29     Test #2, Discuss Reports


Week 11 – Apr. 5        Sustainable Development                                              16


Week 12 – Apr. 12      Conservation Science and Policy                                   17


Week 13 – Apr. 19      Conservation Challenges                                               18


Week 14 – Apr. 26      Reports


Week 15 – May 3        Final Exam