Terrestrial & Freshwater Conservation

Instructor: Dr. John Reynolds (Simon Fraser University)

Overview: This course will examine issues and techniques in conservation ecology applied to terrestrial and freshwater habitats. The emphasis will be on field experience, taking advantage of the spectacular range of habitats in the Bamfield region. Lectures will include global and regional biodiversity, links between conservation and livelihoods, legislation protecting habitats and species, citizen science, and issues of the day.

Daily field visits will be made to a variety of local terrestrial and freshwater habitats, including old-growth forests. Group projects will include biodiversity surveys using the citizen science app iNaturalist (best project ever!), as well as environmental impact assessments.

Research Skills: Students will learn modern survey and monitoring methods for streams and forests. Along the way they will learn how to identify plants and other species of interest. Students will learn how to analyze their data for group projects using R, a flexible, open-source statistical program.

Practical Skills: We will teach survey techniques that are similar to methods used by field biologists working for environmental consulting firms and research organizations. Basic natural history identification skills are widely transferable. Prepare to become addicted to iNaturalist. Small group presentations will help people brush up on their Powerpoint skills and public speaking. All ecologists should learn R, and we will make it fun. Really.

Prerequisites: Third year standing in biology including basic ecology courses, or permission of the instructor.

Physical Requirements: We will be outside every day. The field trips won’t be particularly strenuous, but they will include clambering around in forests and walking in rubber boots along streams. We are also aiming for a camping trip to Carmanah Walbran, a breath-taking old-growth forest.

Textbook: None required.


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Expect to be in the field every day, with a single lecture on many mornings.  There will be practical demonstrations of survey techniques, lots of teamwork, and occasional soakers.

Terrestrial & Freshwater Conservation - 2019