BI4141 - Global Biodiversity: Concepts & Threats

Undergraduate course, , 2018


This module aims to provide students with an appreciation of the diversity of life on Earth as well as an overview of the threats currently facing global biodiversity and solutions to these problems. This module provides a broad background to the subject which serves as preparation for more advanced study of conservation biology. The module uses topical case studies with both a UK and global perspective.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Explain global patterns of species diversity
  • Describe key concepts associated with biodiversity and biogeography
  • Identify and use major indices of species diversity
  • Describe and explain the underlying causes of global biodiversity loss
  • Articulate key ideas associated with biodiversity conservation globally

Module content

1) Overview of biological diversity

  • The diversity of life on Earth
  • Measuring biodiversity
  • Introduction to biogeography

2) Mechanics of biodiversity

  • Origins of biodiversity
  • Species distributions and ranges
  • Past biodiversity and mass extinctions

3) Threats to global biodiversity

  • Overexploitation
  • Habitat loss and change
  • Alien and invasive species
  • Ecosystem stress
  • Protecting biodiversity