Applied Biodiversity Science: policy, management and conservation

EMBC+ MODULE 3: Conservation and Restoration of Marine Biodiversity
  • Introduction : what are the biodiversity  problems ; Overview of the document “Ecosystems and Human well-being – Biodiversity Synthesis“ is used as the red line through the introduction (  Following questions are treated : What is biodiversity and why is biodiversity important ? Wat are the recent insights in applied biodiversity within a socio-economic context ? What are the scientific challenges for applied biodiversity 
  • Causes of biodiversity loss: habitat change,  climate change, overexploitation, eutrophication, invasive species, .. . Based on recent scientific knowledge, the effects of climate change is discussed in phenology, natural resources (fisheries), water management, deforestation, habitat use in relation to socio-ecological indicators.
  • What is the legal context : national / international ? History of the legal framework of protection of biodiversity; what are the local, regional and international differenses ?
  • Goods and Services of Biodiversity and monitoring ; How can biodiversity be used and valorised? What is the socio-economic importance of biodiversity ? What bio-indicators can be used best in applied biodiversity ?
  • Resources and tools for biodiversity management:
    • Marine Spatial Planning : - importance of taxonomy: CBD, priority setting for designated areas, conservation management plans, conservation of critical vascular plants, reintroduction
    • checklists, field guides, databases: setup and use, scientists vs. broader public, research stations and ecotourism
    • molecular tools for measuring and monitoring biodiversity: genetic diversity and geographical distribution, taxon limits and species concepts, cryptic hybridization, phyloclimatic modeling
  • In situ and ex situ conservation of tropical plants:  global initiatives vs. governments vs. local communities vs. botanical gardens - biodiversity hotspots
    • in situ vs. ex situ
    • tropical vs. higher latitude botanical gardens: species
    • richness and socio-economic factors
    • species  vs. habitat conservation, link with human development issues
    • role of herbaria 
    • IUCN: Red List, reintroduction, alien invasive species 
  • Conservation and use of agricultural plant biodiversity (agrodiversity)
    • gene banks and germplasm
    • local biodiversity (indigenous and uncultivated wild plants) vs. malnutrition 
    • crop wild relatives and domestication
    • case studies of well known crops: banana, cocoa, coconut, legumes, maize, rice, potato
    • case studies of neglected and underutilized species: Andean roots and tubers, (pseudo)cereals, tropical fruits and nuts, vegetables
  • Industrial applications of plants and their properties
    • fibres, colours, oils and latex, drinks
    • bionics and biomimetics: Lotus-effect (self-cleaning surfaces), Velcro (hook-and-loop fastener), self-healing materials, reversible adhesion
  • Trade induced loss of biodiversity ;
    • Biodiversity of the trade: biodiversity in the trade for consumption (fisheries, bush meat, aquaculture, ), pet trade (ornamentals, trade in rare reptiles, etc.), sports (fishing, trophy hunting)and products (fur, leather, etc.).
    • Organisations controlling the trade: governmental organisations (FAO, UNEP-WCMC, CITES, EU-CITES regulations); non-governmental organisations (WWF, IUCN, TRAFFIC, MAC, Bush meat task force).
    • Control activities: CITES activities, UNEP-WCMC review reports). - Effects of the trade: direct and indirect effects.
  • Resources and tools for Applied Biodiversity
  • Research: 
    • Zoological taxon-specific databases: comprehensive, invertebrate, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal databases.
    • Trade related databases: CITES, IUCN, TRAFFIC, Bushmeat, Global Marine Aquarium Database.
    • Other databases: European fauna, ITIS, Science information database.

(Inter)national agreements on biodiversity (Convention on Biological Diversity, Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, CITES, IUCN, Traffic, WCMW-UNEP, ), management and organisations (FAO, ICLARM, ), sustainable use of natural resources (e, g, fisheries, woodlands, ..)

Basic knowledge on ecology and biodiversity (bachelor level)


Students can use/translate their fundamental knowledge of biodiversity (genes, species, habitats) into relevant social problems (protection of rare species, invasive species, alien species and their role within ecosystems, ...). This knowledge can be used for advise to policy makers.