Highlands Biological Station is open to visitors. Masks are still required in the Nature Center, but are no longer required on campus, including the Botanical Garden. Highlands Biological Station is offering academic and public programming this summer. For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.

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Conservation Biology

May 16 @ 8:00 am - May 27 @ 5:00 pm

Instructor: Peter White (UNC – Chapel Hill)

The goal of this class is to review all the biological knowledge that is essential to conservation, ranging from genetics to populations to ecosystems and from small scales to broad ones, while focusing on the diverse and complex landscape of the Southern Appalachians.  Some of the material may be review from general biology or ecology classes, albeit with new conservation-themed examples, and some will be new to you because the work in question is only carried out in a conservation context.  Examples of competencies gained are the following: ability to evaluate the relative contributions of niche-environment relations and spatial-temporal constraints to biodiversity patterns and the consequence of these patterns for conservation design; understanding how genetic diversity is affected by effective population size; understanding how extinction risk is affected by the size, number, and distribution of populations; ability to construct, in a conceptual sense, population and metapopulation models; understanding concepts of ecosystem dynamics, resistance, resilience, and adaptability; ability to critically analyze modern conservation issues like invasive species, climate change and change in other ecological processes, habitat loss and fragmentation, trophic cascades, ecological restoration, and ex situ conservation.  The key competency to gain is to think critically about scientific findings, to see where uncertainties and opportunities for new research lie, and to use the findings of biological science as a conservation tool box.

Prerequisites: General biology and ecology courses or permission of instructor

Click here for the syllabus.


May 16 @ 8:00 am
May 27 @ 5:00 pm
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Highlands Biological Station
265 North 6th St
Highlands, NC 28741 United States
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