DPP612: Biological Conservation - Ανοικτό Πανεπιστήμιο Κύπρου - Open University of Cyprus

DPP612: Biological Conservation

Module Purpose and Objectives 

Conservation Biology is the scientific study of the phenomena which influence biodiversity conservation, loss and restoration of biodiversity.  During this course the student will study the main constituent elements of terrestrial ecosystems, the threats they face and the main approaches used for their protection. The objectives of the module:

  • Convey the theory and application of conservation biology.
  • Familiarize students with the practical aspects of conservation projects.
  • Present the importance and the threats that biological diversity faces in a human-dominate landscape
  • Promote the application of ecological concepts to conservation problems
  • Demonstrate the use of appropriate techniques in the solution of problems in terrestrial ecosystem conservation, using real world examples.

By successfully completing this course the student should be able to : 

  • Link the theory and practice of conservation biology and terrestrial ecosystem protection
  • Draft/Design monitoring plans for species and habitats
  • Design and evaluate Protected Areas
  • Employ specialised software for ecological data analysis (PAST, SIMILE, CANOCO, FRAGSTATS, HARVESTLite,)


Module Content 

1. Biodiversity and Conservation: definitions, life on earth, biodiversity and geological time, endogenous, extinction, species and taxonomic groups, levels of diversity,

2. Biodiversity mapping & patterns: area-species relationship, biogeographical areas, high and low biodiversity areas, biodiversity gradients,

3. Biodiversity Assessment and Measurement: Abundance / Richnness, Alpha Beta and Gamma Diversity, Species Richness Indicators, Diversity Indicators, Eveness, Similarity-Diversity

4. Threats, pressures and biodiversity loss: species extinction, population populations and genetic diversity, biodiversity exploitation, habitat loss and fragmentation, degradation, scale and pressures, red lists

5. Landscape Ecology Principles: Landscape Concept, Structure, Functions, Changes, Spatial Patterns, Heterogeneity, Patch-Corridor-Matrix MetaPopulations

6. Landscape Ecology – Measuring patterns and processes: scale, level of organization, processes, resolution, landscape composition, landscaping, metrics / indicators

7. Landscape Ecology – Design and Planning: ecological networks, green and blue networks, cores, corridors, buffer zones, areas of sustainable use, coherence, connectivity (physical, functional)

8. Invasive Species: endemic and invasive species and their history in the Mediterranean, impacts on native fauna and flora, agriculture, genetic diversity, ecosystem impacts, socio-economic impacts

9. In-situ, ex situ, inter situ conservation: purposes and uses of the three approaches, relationship between them, methods and techniques, protected areas, botanical gardens, genebanks

10.Nature Conservation Evaluations and Protected Areas: Conservation Principles, Evaluation Criteria, Prioritization, Ecological Networks, Identification of Conservation Gaps, Systematic Conservation Planning and Protected Areas

11.Protected Areas - Natura 2000: Concept of Protected Areas and Worldwide Distribution, International, European and National (Greece - Cyprus) Institutional Framework, Natura 2000, Sites of Community Importance, Special Protection Areas, Priority Habitats, Effectiveness and efficiency, Climate change and Protected Areas

12.Monitoring and Inventorying of species and habitats: Concepts of Inventory and Monitoring, Monitoring and Management, Methodological Frameworks for Habitats and Species, Indicators

13. Socio-economics and policies for biodiversity: the values ​​of biodiversity, direct and indirect use, institutional framework and major international treaties, social conflicts

Hands on laboratory exercises will take place with the use of freeware such as SIMILE (population models), PAST (diversity indices), FRAGSTATS (landscape ecology), HARVESTLite (spatial pattern analysis). In addition, with the help of Virtual Labs students will be able to take part in sampling and mapping activities in a simulated landscape

Additional Info

  • Κωδικός / Course Code: DPP612
  • ECTS: 10
  • Τρόποι Αξιολόγησης / Assessment:


  • Διάρκεια Φοίτησης/ Length of Study: Εξαμηνιαία (χειμερινό) / Semi-annual (fall)
  • Κόστος/ Tuition Fees: 450 euro
  • Επίπεδο Σπουδών/ Level: Μεταπτυχιακό/ Postgraduate