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Biodiversity and Conservation (seminar)


Admission requirements

Open to graduates with a BSc in Biology

Contact information

Coordinator: Dr. C.J.M. Musters


A broad spectrum of aspects of biodiversity and conservation is discussed based on key papers. The biodiversity of the world is believed to decrease at such a speed that one speaks of a “biodiversity crisis”. By ratifying the Convention of Biological Diversity (UNEP, 1992), many governments have agreed to “develop national strategies, plans or programs for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity”. This has led to an impulse in biodiversity and conservation research. Recent landmark studies in this field will be discussed. So, how far are we in answering questions like: How large is biodiversity on Earth? How fast is it changing? What biodiversity is most vulnerable for global change? How important is it and for whom? Does more biodiversity imply more ecological stability? Is it possible to set attainable goals for biodiversity? What is sustainable use of biodiversity? How can it be reached?

Learning goals

Course objectives:
The seminar provides insight in the scientific debate about the definition and interpretation of the concept of biodiversity, in the state of the art in biodiversity research and assessments, and in the application of the concept in actual policy making, management and sustainable use.

Final qualifications:
The students must be able to summarize an article, including a critical analysis of the methods, results, discussion and implications of the results. They should participate in discussions about the article.


There will be 12 meetings of two hours, one meeting per week from April – July on Wednesday’s 14.00-16.00 hrs. The detailed timetable will be published on Blackboard.

Total number of contact hours

24 contact hours

Mode of instruction

Students will present an article on a given subject. All other students are supposed to have studied the text as well and formulate questions on the subject. The subsequent discussion will take these questions as point of departure. When possible, each meeting will end by drafting some synthetic conclusions.

Assessment method

Oral presentation and participation.


Blackboard will be used

Reading list



Registration via USIS and enroll using Blackboard.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.


Open to graduates with a BSc in Biology. Because of limited capacity students of the track ‘Evolution, Biodiversity and Conservation’ have precedence.
No costs
Max. number of students: 20.