nl en

EBC / Trends in Conservation Biology


Dr. Wil.L.M. Tamis; telephone: 071 – 527 7479;

Conservation Biology studies the relations between human activity, environmental quality and biodiversity. It thereby contributes to the protection and sustainable use of natural resources, with a focus on biodiversity. A general framework is based on the causal chains; both in the physical environment (from drivers, via chemical, physical, biological pressures, via state, to impacts) and society (from impacts, via response of different actors, to drivers). Principles from both the ecological and the social sciences are used to investigate these relations within specific temporal and spatial scales. The research is mainly problem-orientated, the focus is on the physical environment and biodiversity, but the problem is always placed in a multi-disciplinary perspective with the involvement of the social sciences.
Each of the first three weeks of the course will be dedicated to one of the research lines of the institute. In the mornings lectures are given. Self working teams, preparation of assignments and possibly excursions will be scheduled in the afternoons. The first week will focus on the impacts of chemical and biological stressors on biodiversity. Of the chemical stressors only a selection will get attention: (heavy) metals, pesticides and (residuals of) anti-biotics and medicines. Research on the impacts of these chemicals on biodiversity is mainly restricted to surface waters (macro-invertebrates, fish) and soil (invertebrates). Of the biological stressors mainly introgression of genes and the introduction of exotic species will be discussed. Main impacts are on the level of ‘natural’ populations of indigenous species. In the second week the impacts of (changes in) land use will be dealt with, with a focus on human dominated (western) landscapes. An important topic will be agriculture and nature, but also case studies on specific faunal groups (e.g., meadow birds, urban birds) will get attention. The third week will focus on sustainable management and use of biodiversity in a more natural environment: nature reserves in western countries, but also in the developing world (Africa, Philippines). Important questions to be dealt with concern sustainable forestry practices (bio-fuels), and desired management of nature parks (e.g., regulation of hunting and fisheries, both for fun and for survival of indigenous people).
In the final week all the knowledge and methods of the first three weeks will be integrated. How important are the different conservational problems in different areas and systems? How to develop conservation plans taking into account all these different treats to biodiversity?

Methods of instruction:
Lectures, excursions, assignments, presentations, and working groups.

Study material:
Reader and lecture hand outs.

Admission requirements:
You must be a master student.

In the mornings, the environmental themes and related topics are discussed based on presentations by internal and external experts and selected literature.
The afternoons are preserved for assignments, mainly writing a short paper, preparing for exams, or preparing a symposium.

As usual for the 1st year MSc courses.
Enrollen in Blackboard

Use of DLO:

Course objective:
The objective of this course is to give the student a state-of-the-art insight of scientific developments in conservation biology, and to learn to use this information in an integrative way.

Costs: for excursions and reader about 50 €.