Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2018/2019

BIOL 222: *Conservation Biology

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  Course Description

Conservation biology is the science of maintaining biological diversity but it extends beyond pure science into areas such as philosophy, economics, law and sociology. This course focuses on biodiversity and how this diversity supports the functions of ecosystems. Threats to biodiversity, particularly from human actions, and strategies for maintaining biodiversity are discussed. Cross-listed as ENVS 222.

Prerequisite: C or better in BIOL 112

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



  • Hunter, Malcolm L, and James P. Gibbs. (2007). Fundamentals of Conservation Biology (3rd). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.  
    • [ISBN-978-1-4051-3545-0]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

Conservation biology is the science focused on maintaining biological diversity but is influenced by non-biological disciplines including economics, law and politics. This course presents the basic components of conservation biology with an emphasis on the importance and value of biodiversity, its threats and challenges. The course emphasizes the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystems and presents management strategies for maintaining biodiversity. Topics include types of biodiversity, evaluation techniques, threats and biodiversity maintenance.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of conservation biology as a science.
  2. Define and describe the different kinds of biodiversity and their importance.
  3. Describe the factors that impact biodiversity.
  4. Compare protection and management of ecosystems as strategies for maintaining biodiversity.
  5. Explore how social values, economics and politics impact biodiversity.
  6. Apply concepts of conservation biology to real world issues
  7. Analyze and interpret data in the context of conservation biology


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 810-900 90-100%
B 720-809 80-89%
C 630-719 70-79%
D 540-629 60-69%
F 0-539 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (14) 140 16%
Article Reviews (2) 40 4%
Worksheets (4) 200 22%
Quizzes (4) 120 13%
Exams (2) 400 44%
Total 900 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Introduction Discussion -- Sunday
Article Review 1 20
Quiz 1 30

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 3 10 Friday/Sunday
Worksheet 1 50 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 5 10 Friday/Sunday
Quiz 2 30 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 7 10 Friday/Sunday
Worksheet 2 50 Sunday
Midterm Exam 200

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 9 10 Friday/Sunday
Quiz 3 30 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 11 10 Friday/Sunday
Worksheet 3 50 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Article Review 2 20 Sunday
Quiz 4 30

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 14 10 Friday/Saturday
Worksheet 4 50 Saturday
Final Exam 200
Total Points: 900

  Assignment Overview


Each week you will have two discussion topics. The discussions provide the means for demonstrating how much you comprehend the selected issues. For each discussion you must make one initial post and two meaningful responses to another student’s post. Your initial post must be complete, based on your analysis and interpretation, and express your thoughts supported by the material presented in the readings. Response posts must be meaningful, in that they clarify previous statements, pose questions, and explore concepts that need further fleshing out with details and examples. Responses should go beyond “good job” or “I agree,” they should add something new to the conversation. All posts must be in paragraph form and demonstrate an understanding of the topic. No specific citation style is required, but post must be appropriately cited. I want to know your thoughts, not just quotes from the text or other references.

Each week, the initial post for the first discussion is due Wednesday at 11:59 pm CT and the initial post for the second discussion is due by Friday at 11:59 pm CT. You must make at least one meaningful response to another student’s post for each discussion topic by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of each week, except in Week 8 when response posts are due by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT. Late discussion posts are not accepted.

Article Reviews

You will read two peer-reviewed journal articles and complete a questionnaire about each. The articles will expose you to the results of original research in content, format, diagrams and charts. This is also your opportunity to become familiar with the structure of a peer review paper. The article review assignments require you to interpret the material and graphics to demonstrate an understanding of terms and concepts and their application to the topic.

Completed article questionnaires must be submitted to their dropbox folder by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of the Week assigned.


Worksheets cover the material discussed in the assigned chapter. These assignments provide a vital means of understanding the course, prepare you for the tests and quizzes, and should be considered an important leaning and preparation tool. Don’t just look for answers to the questions but use them to learn the material. Worksheets are due every two weeks, but I encourage you to start early since some require application of formulas and calculations.

Worksheets are to be prepared in Times New Roman, 12 pt font, single spaced, clearly worded and completely address the question. Any style is acceptable, but citations must be consistent. Any material taken from the text must be identified by page number.

Worksheets are due by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of Weeks 2, 4 and 6 to the appropriate Dropbox folder. In Week 8, the worksheet is due by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT. Penalty for late submissions is 20% per day.


Quizzes are designed to test your knowledge of the assigned material. Although they are not proctored, they are timed so you should prepare adequately before you take the quiz. Quizzes will have a combination of multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, or short answer questions which must be completed within 20 minutes. One attempt is allowed. Following the quiz, the Submission view will show questions missed. Quizzes are available between Monday and 11:59 pm CT on Sunday of the week they are due.

Quizzes will cover the chapters covered during the week assigned. As follows: Quiz 1 covers chapters 1 and 2; Quiz 2 covers chapters 5, 6 and 7; Quiz 3 covers chapters 10, 11 and 12; and Quiz 4 covers chapters 15 and 16.


Both the Midterm and Final exam are proctored exams that are taken without any study aids. It is your responsibility to find an appropriate proctor and get them approved. The Midterm covers weeks 1-4 and the Final covers weeks 5-8. Exams will have a combination of multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, or short answer questions, only one attempt is allowed and each test must be completed within 2 hours (120 minutes).

The Midterm exam opens Monday morning of Week 4 and closes at Sunday of Week 4 at 11:59 pm CT.

The Final exam opens Monday morning of Week 8 and closes at Saturday of Week 8 at 11:59 pm CT.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Learning Resources

Chapters 1 and 2

Virkkala, Raimo. "Long-Term Decline of Southern Boreal Forest Birds: Consequence of Habitat Alteration or Climate Change?" Biodiversity & Conservation, vol. 25, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 151-167.  [Available via Content area of the course]

Discussion 1

Which of the three ethics described by Callicott do you feel is most widely accepted in the US today?  Explain and support your position.

Introduction Discussion

Introduce yourself to your classmates. Please share more than just your name. Include your profession, degree, hobbies, interest in conservation biology, and any other information that can help us get to know you. What is your most memorable interaction with conservation biology or biodiversity?

Article Review 1

Read the journal article “Long-Term Decline of Southern Boreal Forest Birds: Consequence of Habitat Alteration or Climate Change?” and complete the questionnaire. Upload your completed questionnaire to the appropriate dropbox folder by Sunday.

Quiz 1

The quiz will focus on understanding the terminology and concepts discussed in the assigned readings for this week.

Learning Resources

Chapters 3 and 4

Discussion 2

What factors would you consider in determining the instrumental and intrinsic value of a species that would adversely impacted by a development project? Do you think instrumental or intrinsic factors should be given greater weight in the final decision? Explain your reasoning.

Discussion 3

Consider the Mangrove Case Study. Do you think it is reasonable and justified to value a mangrove swamp damaged by an oil spill at over $6 million? Provide a comprehensive response supported by concepts expressed in the text.

Worksheet 1

Worksheet focuses on equations and calculations regarding Simpson’s Diversity equations and Jaccard’s Coefficient of Community Similarity.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Learning Resources

Chapters 5, 6, and 7

Discussion 4

Why do you think it is or isn’t important to have populations dominated by heterozygotes rather than homozygotes? Explain your position.

Discussion 5

Consider the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Case Study. How do you think this demonstrates that an understanding of the extinction process, facilitated by population viability analysis can result in a workable population management plan? Explain your position.

Quiz 2

The quiz will focus on understanding the terminology and concepts discussed in the assigned readings for this week.

Learning Resources

Chapters  8 and 9

Discussion 6

“A significant if not the most significant factor in ecosystem degradation and loss is agricultural activities”. Do you feel this is an accurate statement considering desertification, deforestation and wetland loss, and if so why? Provide examples to support your position.

Discussion 7

Consider the Gulf of Maine Case Study. Do you feel this is an example of impacts to species or ecosystem diversity and why? Be specific and consider the terms trophic cascade and trophic level dysfunction.

Worksheet 2

Worksheet 2 involves calculations involving polymorphism, heterozygosity, genetic diversity and effective population.

This worksheet covers topics from the Week 3 readings but due to the challenge of the worksheet, you will submit it in Week 4.

Midterm Exam

The proctored midterm exam covers the assignments and material from chapters 1 – 9.

Learning Resources

Chapters 10, 11, and 12

Discussion 8

Wetlands are critical ecosystems that have been degraded and converted to other uses but are now appreciated as valuable natural areas and resources. There are several possible actions that can be taken when developments compete with existing wetlands. What do you think are feasible actions to take if a 40-acre wetland is in the way of a condominium development? Consider and describe as many options as possible and consider that the final goal is to maintain at least a 40-acre wetland. Please provide a narrative, rather than bullets for your description.

Discussion 9

Consider the Case Study; Forests of the Pacific Northwest. What do you think are the key issues faced by resource managers in developing a plan that would maintain or enhance biodiversity in the area?

Quiz 3

The quiz will focus on understanding the terminology and concepts discussed in the assigned readings for this week.

Learning Resources

Chapters 13 and 14

Discussion 10

Human actions, both intentional and unintentional, have redistributed species populations from their native areas to foreign areas. If attempts are made to save endemic populations, is it a good practice to eliminate all non-endemic species even if they have become entrenched in the local ecosystem? Explain your position. What criteria do you feel should be used in this decision and what supports your position?

Discussion 11

Consider the Case Study “The Arabian Oryx.” Do you think this was a successful example of in-situ or ex-situ conservation or a combination of both? Why or why not?

Worksheet 3

Worksheet 3 is focused on the concepts and terms associated with maintaining biodiversity through population management and zoos.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Learning Resources

Chapters 15 and 16

McFadden, Tyler, et al. "Effects of Nesting Waterbirds on Nutrient Levels in Mangroves, Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras." Wetlands Ecology & Management, vol. 24, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 217-229.

Discussion 12

In the textbook on page 342, Figure 15.4 shows a nested hierarchy of concerns on the biocentric - anthropocentric spectrum. In which group/level do you feel you belong currently? Where do you feel US society is at present and where do you feel US society will be in 50 years? Include an explanation of your opinion.

Article Review 2

Read the journal article “Effects of Nesting Waterbirds on Nutrient Levels in Mangroves, Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras.” and complete the questionnaire. Upload your completed questionnaire to the appropriate dropbox folder.

Quiz 4

The quiz will focus on understanding the terminology and concepts discussed in the assigned readings for this week.

Learning Resources

Chapter 17

Discussion 13

What are some examples of political decisions or actions regarding conservation biology goals that have impacted you in a positive or negative way? Explain.

Discussion 14

What do you feel is the best way for citizens to interact with the political process to support and achieve conservation biology goals? Fully explain and support your position.

Worksheet 4

Worksheet 4 focuses on terms, concepts and processes discussed during Week 7 and 8.

Final Exam

The proctored Final exam will cover the assignments and material covered in chapters 10 – 17.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Quizzes: You will receive a 20% grade penalty for each minute exceeding the time limit. 

Articles and Worksheets: You will receive 20% of the total points possible for a worksheet each day it is late. In the case of the wrong worksheet being submitted, penalty points will be assessed each day until the correct worksheet is submitted. 

Exams: The Midterm exam must be taken during Week 4 unless special arrangements and approval have been received from the instructor to delay the exam until Week 5. An extension may incur a minimum 20% tardiness penalty if taken during Week 5. Midterm exams cannot be taken after Week 5. The Final exam will not be accepted late.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.