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REN3301 Biodiversity and Conservation

Semester 2, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Biodiversity and Conservation
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 050999 - Environmental Studies not else
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Andy Le Brocque

Other requisites

Recommended Pre-requisite: REN1201. Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <>.


The future management of the earth's natural resources and the conservation of organisms and biological systems requires up-to-date and reliable information and knowledge from a wide variety of disciplines. Biodiversity and conservation are emerging areas of ecological science that take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the processes involved, and problems associated with, the maintenance of the diversity of species, habitats and ecological systems. The course provides an ecological perspective to the conservation of biodiversity and is of value to professional ecologists, field biologists, environmental scientists, environmental engineers and resource and business managers. The course is also of value to teachers and other educators, and those interested in careers in ecotourism.


The course incorporates an interdisciplinary approach to the study of biodiversity and conservation, with a foundation in ecological theory and principles as a basis for the conservation and management of natural, production and disturbed systems. The concept of biodiversity as an ordered progression in biological complexity, from genes to ecosystems, is reviewed. The mechanisms behind the development of species, ecosystems and biodiversity are explored. The key threatening processes to biodiversity conservation are examined, with a focus on Australian ecosystems whenever feasible, and the processes and theories regarding the extinction of animals and plants are examined. The impact of humans on the earth's biodiversity and current issues in the conservation of biodiversity is also examined, in both global and regional settings. The scientific basis of species and habitat conservation and current practices and problems are also explored.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. integrate the concept of biodiversity into their understanding of ecological systems and processes;
  2. evaluate the various ways that biodiversity can be measured;
  3. assess and contrast the factors and threatening processes responsible for the extinction of organisms;
  4. integrate the theoretical basis of conservation management into current practices and problems;
  5. compare and contrast methods for the conservation of biodiversity;
  6. evaluate current and potential conservation problems;
  7. integrate knowledge of biodiversity and conservation into their major study.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Biological Diversity and Conservation Science: Biodiversity Concept; Patterns in Biodiversity; Speciation and Extinction; Humans and Biodiversity. 30.00
2. Ecological Processes in Conservation: Conserving Species; Genetic basis to Conservation; Conserving Species and Populations; Conserving Ecosystems. 30.00
3. Principles for Conservation: Protected Areas Management, Ecological Restoration; Conservation Management; Sustainability and Challenges for Conservation. 40.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Groom, MJ, Meffe, GK & Carroll, R 2005, Principles of Conservation Biology, 3rd edn, Sinauer Associates Inc, Sunderland, MA.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Burgman, MA & Lindenmayer, DB 1998, Conservation Biology for the Australian Environment, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Hunter, M & Gibbs, J 2007, Fundamentals of Conservation Biology, 3rd edn, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA.
MacDonald, D & Service, K 2006, Key Topics in Conservation Biology, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA.
MacDonald, D.W. & Willis, K.J 2013, Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden MA.
Primack, R.B 2014, Essentials of Conservation Biology, 6th edn, Sinauer Associates.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assignments 46.00
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 63.00
Quizzes 4.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Online Quiz 1 50 5 09 Aug 2019 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 1 (Case Study Prop) 50 5 15 Aug 2019 (see note 2)
Online Quiz 2 50 5 30 Aug 2019 (see note 3)
Online Quiz 3 50 5 20 Sep 2019 (see note 4)
ASSIGNMENT 2 (Fact Sheet) 50 15 26 Sep 2019 (see note 5)
Online Quiz 4 50 5 25 Oct 2019 (see note 6)
2HR RESTRICTED EXAMINATION 120 60 End S2 (see note 7)

  1. Online Quizzes will be undertaken via the course StudyDesk and each must be completed in a single session within the specified period.
  2. Assignment must be submitted via the online submission system on the Course Studydesk
  3. Online Quizzes will be undertaken via the course StudyDesk and each must be completed in a single session within the specified period.
  4. Online Quizzes will be undertaken via the course StudyDesk and each must be completed in a single session within the specified period.
  5. Assignment must be submitted via the online submission system on the Course Studydesk
  6. Online Quizzes will be undertaken via the course StudyDesk and each must be completed in a single session within the specified period.
  7. Examination dates will be available during the Semester. Please refer to the examination timetable when published.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination). Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will normally be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to USQ via electronic submission on the course website. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  2. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete-Deferred Examination); IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  3. It is not possible to extend or defer the online quizzes. Students will need to complete the quizzes in the specified period on the course Studydesk.

  4. Students must use the assignment template (.doc document) provided on the course Website for electronic submission of assignments. The templates include an assignment cover page and marking criteria and must be submitted in a Microsoft Office Word 2007 compatible format.

  5. In accordance with Faculty of Sciences and USQ regulations, applications for extensions to assignment due dates must be made in writing to the Examiner before the assignment due date. Applications for extensions must be accompanied by appropriate documentary evidence.