Conservation Biology

(Course Code: 106KEY, Course outline)

Semester: 5 Teaching Credits: 3 ECTS Credits: 6 Type:


Prerequisite Courses: Course type: Special background


Instructor: Konstantinos Theodorou

The aim of the course is: 

  • Understanding the threats to Biodiversity and the role of Conservation Biology  in a human-modified landscape
  • The application of ecological concepts to conservation problems
  • The use of tools for the monitoring, conservation and management of threatened species/populations.

Emphasis is given to the Conservation of processes related to Biodiversity (evolutionary processes, ecosystem functioning).

Topics per Week: Biodiversity crisis: the sources of the problem. Consequences of biodiversity crisis. Conservation of threatened species and ecosystem services. Conservation Biology: description and aim.

Major threats to Biodiversity: current situation and projections. Habitat loss and fragmentation.

Major threats to Biodiversity (con’t):

Climate change.


Major threats to Biodiversity (con’t):

Biological invasions.


Population dynamics:  Demographic models according to life cycle. Extensions: density-dependent and stochastic processes.

Population dynamics: monitoring techniques to assess population abundance and survival rates.

Population extinction: processes leading to extinction (environmental and demographic stochasticity, natural catastrophes, Allee effect).

Population Viability Analysis: aim and description of different approaches.

Extinction indicators.

Lab: Population Viability Analysis with the use of software (Vortex).

Conservation Genetics: aim and tools. Genetic processes and population extinction.

Conservation Genetics (con’t): Genetic management of threatened populations.

Metapopulation dynamics models. Population viability and management in a fragmented landscape.

Conservation and ecological integrity: biodiversity indicators as a tool for conservation and management.

 Laboratory exercises:

1.       Population Viability Analysis with the use of software (Vortex)

Theory – Lectures
(hours / week)
Exercises – Laboratories
(hours / week)
(One laboratorial exercise)
Other Activities:  –

Report on Population Viability Analysis Lab (30%)

Final exams (70%)

Basic Textbook:
  • Primack R. (2009). A primer for Conservation Biology. Odysseas Editions

-M. E. Soulé, (1987), “Viable Populations for Conservation”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

-G. Meffe, C. R. Carroll et al., (1997), «Principles of Conservation Biology», Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sutherland, Massachusetts.

-W. J. Sutherland, (1998), «Conservation Science and Action», Blackwell Science Ltd., Oxford.

-M. E. Soulé & G. H. Orians, (2002), «Conservation Biology. Research Priorities for the next decade», Island Press, Washington. 

-R. Frankham, J. D. Ballou & D.A. Briscoe, (2002), «Introduction to Conservation Genetics», Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


The course is taught in Greek. For exchange students, English literature is proposed and examinations are given in English

Internet Links:

Biology 65: Biodiversity and Conservation

Online course of the University of California (2004) – Professor P. Bryant. 


 Invasive Species Specialist Group

 Biodiversity Hotspots 

 Inquiries to Conservation Genetics