Contribution of the course to the overall degree programme goals
“Biodiversity and global change” is a required course for the first year of the master program in Environmental Sciences. This course will provide the knowledge of the impact of the global changes on the living organisms, from individual to the population level. The educational objectives of the course are to understand:
a) changes on the global and local level and how those influence living organisms (both plants and animals),
b) ways in which living organisms respond and adapt to global change and
c) approaches available for managing and/or adapting to impacts of global change.
Particular attention will be directed towards changes caused by human activities and the ways for their mitigation. Students who complete the course will have an advanced understanding of the influence of global change on the biodiversity. They will be able critically to analyze the effect of everyday decisions and actions on different stakeholder levels.
Expected learning outcomes
1. Knowledge and understanding
a) Knows the basic terminology used to address biodiversity and global change and understand the texts that use it.
b) Knows the different influential factors on biodiversity in the context of global change.
c) Knows the strategies for adaptation to or mitigation of global change on the biological level, including humans.
2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
a) Have learned how to properly use the terminology in all the processes of application and communication of the acquired knowledge.
b) Can recognize different factors in the analysis of the causes of global change and evaluate their impact on living beings.
c) Can see the applications of learned strategies in everyday life and to suggest the best possible strategies for different stakeholders.
3. Judgment skills
a) Will learn to choose a subject for independent work.
b) Will learn to formulate scientific hypotheses.
4. Communication skills
a) Know how to communicate the specificities of biodiversity and global change using appropriate terminology.
b) Knowing how to interact with peers and with the tutor, in a critical and respectful way.
5. Learning skills
a) Have improved presentation skills by presenting a literature review.
b) Have improved reviewer skills by reviewing fellow students works.
c) Have developed skills for critical reading of scientific publications.
Adequate knowledge in general biology is recommended as background for the course.
1. Introduction to the course, organization, requirements, and deadlines; overview of the subject; global change from the historical perspective.
2.-3. Biodiversity: what do we know and what should still be learned. Theories and approaches.
4.-5. Biocultural diversity: a combination of biological and cultural diversity; how they are interrelated and why adding cultural factor is essential.
6.-8. Human impact on the environment, plants, and animals
9.-10. Two last meetings will be reserved for reporting the independent study.
In the case of a non-attending specific day, students will have access to the pdf of the lecture slides and will be required to submit a 1-page referenced (min. 4 references) essay on the subject covered in the missed class, as every class requires active participation. One lecture can be missed without the penalty.
Aronson, S.M., 2007. Local science vs. global science: Approaches to indigenous knowledge in international development (Vol. 4). Berghahn Books.
Maffi, L. and Woodley, E., 2012. Biocultural diversity conservation: a global sourcebook. Routledge.
Active participation in the seminars or essays due to absence – 25 %
Independent study and presentation – 20%
Reviewing two independent studies and debates – 5%
Written exam – 50%
In case if the student doesn't attend any lecture, the value of the written exam will be 100%
The written exam will consist of ten open questions requiring a concise and well-supported answer on the different subjects covered within the course. The value of every question is 5% of the final grade (or 10% in the case of non-attendance).
The example of the questions from the previous year:
1. How does urbanization influence global change?
2. How cultural diversity and biological diversity are interconnected?
3. What are the main consequences of deforestation?
4. What makes a species invasive?
5. How plants and their pollinators interact?
6. How language influences perception of the ecosystem?
7. Would returning to traditional lifestyle stop global change?
8. What are the most important anthropogenic drivers of global change?
9. Could GMOs be a solution for the food crisis?
10. Bring an example of a plant or an animal affected directly by climate change or human activity. Please, describe the consequences.
Students are allowed to use handwritten notes.
The frontal meetings will be designed in the way that the time will be split between lecture and discussion approximately in proportion 2/3 and 1/3 respectively. The discussion section will be grounded on the required text for every lecture. There will be ten meetings lasting three academic hours.
The independent study will be in the form of a presentation to an imaginary project competition within the scope of bio(cultural)diversity in the context of global change. The study will need to lead to a hypothesis or two for prospective future research. Each student will present his or her study to the class; the presentation will be accompanied by the disputation with two reviewers from the class.
Type of exam
written and oral
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals
This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Human capital, health, education" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development
Last update of the programme: 11/03/2021
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