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I. Biodiversity value & loss in a changing world

L1: Halting further biodiversity loss: Why?  (2h)
Andrew Ramsey, University of Cumbria, UK

The session will outline the international and European political commitments towards reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. It will presents biodiversity loss and the current extinction crisis in the light of other historical declines in biodiversity. The current and predicted extinction rates for a range of species groups and ecosystems will be outlined. The importance of this biodiversity loss will be evaluated in terms of use and non-use values for the humankind. Examples will be drawn from a range of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and will include data from academic, NGO and governmental organization. The session will conclude with a number of reasons arguing why biodiversity should and must be conserved.

L4: Ecosystem services and nature conservation: triumph of utilitarianism? (2h)
Gabor Lövei, University of Aarhus, Denmark

This talk introduces a discussion session where the participants will be familiar with the concept of ecosystem services, the millennium Ecosystem Assessment, with particular reference to cultivated and man-managed areas. Particular attention will be given to such areas as habitats for endangered flora and fauna - which is especially relevant in Europe. The presentation will be followed by a moderated discussion where two groups will argue for and against the utilitarian concept for nature protection: why is it useful to use the ecosystem services concept for conservation biology? Is such an approach limiting and ultimately futile to enhance the effectiveness of conservation of biodiversity?

L7: Conservation Biology: the European paradigm (2h)
Andrew Ramsey, University of Cumbria, UK

This session will introduce what conservation biology is doing to address the catastrophic loss in biodiversity. This will include an introduction to a number of conservation strategies drawn from a wide range of issues including in and ex situ conservation, reintroduction, habitat restoration, genetic issues, legislative issues, economic and political influence, modelling and technological efforts. The science of how all these issues are brought under the umbrella of conservation and how this can aid in the fight to maintain biodiversity will be discussed. Examples will concentrate on EU case studies and will attempt to illustrate a paradigm for conservation biology in the EU.

L12: Global climate change and biodiversity (2h)
John Halley, University of Ioannina, Greece

This lecture will discuss the variability of earth’s climate as a natural as well as an anthropogenic phenomenon. The climate of the earth has always been changing, often in dramatic and sudden ways, with major consequences for biodiversity. This can be seen through the analysis of data from the past. So how do we make sense of the complex diversity of climatic changes? We will lay out some guidelines, including a discussion of how the current change in climate is distinguished from natural changes. This leads us to a discussion about the likely effects of the current global warming on biodiversity.


L13: Genetic manipulation and biodiversity conservation (2h)
Gabor Lövei, University of Aarhus, Denmark

This session will review the main activities of plant and animal genetic manipulations and their possible effect on biodiversity at several levels (infra-vs. supra-individual levels). Aspects where this technology can help conservation biology will be discussed. The participants will become familiar with the main arguments for and against using or allowing genetic manipulations and the release of genetically modified organisms in nature, as well as the possible beneficial applications for conservation biology. The session will conclude with a moderated student debate on the above issue.


II. Assessment of Biodiversity

L8: Sampling methods for biodiversity assessment and monitoring (2h)
Alessandro Chiarucci, University of Siena, Italy

Assessing and monitoring species diversity over large scales for species-rich taxa is one of the major tasks of present day ecology and suffers of many problems, since species richness estimators are far for being really applied. This lecture will present some possible solutions in assessing and monitoring large scale species diversity, by using existing tools such as the rarefaction technique.



L15: Biodiversity assessment: how to measure life? (2h)
Vassiliki Kati, University of Ioannina, Greece

This session will start with a BBC video presenting the variety of life on Earth, the state of the planet, mass extinction events and the present human-induced biodiversity decline. Famous conservation biologists demonstrate their techniques to assess biodiversity and measure species richness in the world, including the tropics, or in deep oceans. Students will have to fill a test evaluating the knowledge acquired from the multimedia session. A talk will summarize the current methods and problems in measuring the diversity of life.


III. Scientific tools for nature conservation

L2: Spatial scales in biodiversity (2h)
Alessandro Chiarucci, University of Siena, Italy

Species diversity is affected by spatial scale. Species-area curves are the most important models to relate species diversity to the spatial scales. The most applied models of species-area curves, namely the Arrhenius' power functions and Gleason's exponential models, will be introduced and discussed in this lecture. A final look to the most recent advancements on modelling species-area curve will also be done.



L3: Conservation Biology in practice: tools for conservation action
Vassiliki Kati, University of Ioannina, Greece

In this introductory lecture, the science of conservation biology will be introduced. The main principles and characteristics of conservation biology will be presented. Students will learn about the main tools we dispose in order to face biodiversity loss. They will be familiar with concepts such as the hotspots of biodiversity, the techniques of reserve design, the methods of rapid biodiversity assessment, gap analysis, species action plans, and concepts such as umbrella, flagship, or indicator species.


L6: Mountain ecosystems: how to maintain plant diversity? (2h)
Panayotis Dimopoulos, University of Ioannina, Greece

This session will outline the ecological value of mountainous ecosystems as refugia of biodiversity in the context of climate change, focusing particularly on plant diversity. It will present the ecological classification of Europe’s alpine areas based on life zones, elevation and bioclimatic characterization. The session will discuss the mechanisms regulating the plant species richness and explaining the high endemism of the montane zone above the timberline. Finally, case studies in the Mediterranean basin and in Greece will be presented, while the threats and the conservation measures to maintain mountain phyto-diversity will be extensively discussed.



L10: Modelling extinction and loss of diversity in small populations (2h)
John Halley, University of Ioannina, Greece

This lecture introduces the various mechanisms that lead to the extinction of small populations and how these are modelled. The mechanisms include demographic and environmental stochasticity, allele effects and spatial fragmentation. Population viability analysis (PVA) aims to forecast the effect of these on a population’s likelihood of survival. We will discuss how successful has it been and why there has been such fierce controversy surrounding PVA. How useful are models generally in these kinds of situations? I will illustrate some lessons through the specific example of the management of ungulate populations in South African protected areas.


IV. Conservation policy and society

L5: Conservation policy: nature conservation in cultural landscapes (2h)
Martin Dieterich, University of Hohenheim, Germany

The session will outline some of the basic challenges nature conservation faces in a cultural landscape context. These challenges include conservation on private lands and active participation by land users and other stakeholders. Model programs and projects from the South German State of Baden-Württemberg will be presented and critically evaluated



L9: Ecological economics: foundation for sustainable nature conservation (2h)
Martin Dieterich, University of Hohenheim, Germany

The lecture will present basic principles of Ecological Economics, and compare those to standard neoclassical economic paradigms and principles. The basic obstacles for nature conservation imposed by the standard market approach will be explained and illustrated. Models and routes on how to better integrate nature conservation and economy driven interests under the market system will be discussed.


L11: Conservation Policy in Europe: linking science with policy making (2h)
Invited speaker.



L14: Establishing and managing Natura 2000 network: the case of Greece (2h)
Panayotis Dimopoulos, University of Ioannina, Greece

This session will present the historical background for the implementation of the Habitat Directive (92/43 EU) in Greece and the mapping procedure in the Natura 2000 sites based on vegetation units and habitats. The session will outline the methodology for the conservation status assessment of habitat types and plant species, and the current monitoring system of the applied management measures. It will present the evaluation of the efficiency of management measures taken in the sites of Natura 2000 network. The session will generate discussion on the interface of administration and science, taking case studies.





Important Dates

  •     09 January 2012: Registration opens
  •     15 March 2012: Registration closes
  •     15 April 2012: Announcement of participants
  •     24 June 2012: Arrival in Ioannina
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