Conservation Paleobiology (BIO4190.01)

Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie

Most conservation biology studies are fairly short-term: years to decades. But, many of the threats to biodiversity, including environmental change, unfold over longer timelines, and dynamic ecological responses to disturbances may not be fully captured in short studies. Paleobiology — the study of fossil organisms — can extend our understanding of population and community responses to environmental change. Conservation paleobiology brings long temporal perspectives to conservation practitioners. In this class, students will explore primary literature from paleobiology, conservation, and their intersection. After reading broadly in foundational to modern literature, we will focus on the place-based local case study of alpine plant communities in the northeastern United States and the conservation challenges of managing small, disjunct populations with assumed high vulnerability, but unknown paleo-histories.

Learning Outcomes:
Read and interpret peer-reviewed literature in the fields of conservation and paleobiology.
Evaluate how paleobiology research is used to support conservation management. Insert yourself into the scholarly conversation on climate change, conservation paleobiology, and management.
Reflect on individual approaches to reading, research, and writing in STEM and examine and assess your (maybe unconscious) practices, and identify the strategies that best support your process.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Previous course in biology or ecology and permission of the instructor. Email Blake Jones ( for registration.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 2
Tu 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Biology , Fully In-Person , Two Credit , Updates
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