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Gain an understanding of the application of animal behaviour to conservation, and develop the practical skills you need for a career in animal conservation. You’ll train in the technologies and scientific methods used in animal behaviour research and how these can be applied to solve modern conservation problems.
Recent developments in conservation biology have emphasised the need for conservation scientists to utilise knowledge and practical skills from animal behaviour research to enable us to develop effective solutions to the loss of biodiversity. If you are passionate about animals and their conservation, our exciting Masters course will provide you the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in animal conservation. Through consultation with international conservation organisations our Masters course has been designed to equip graduates with practical and analytical skills that can be applied to solve real world conservation problems.
Our course begins with intensive technical training in animal behaviour. This is coupled with a Behavioural Ecology and Conservation module, in which you will learn how to select and apply animal behaviour techniques to best effect in many different settings.
During the course, you’ll have opportunities to learn more about the methods used in modern conservation, including advanced laboratory techniques, satellite tracking, GIS, stable isotope analysis, DNA analysis and field techniques. You can also choose to go on an exciting residential field trip (usually in Borneo, but this may vary) to explore the issues central to wildlife conservation in situ. Alternatively you may wish to choose to further develop your theoretical and practical skills in the application of DNA technologies, which are widely used in modern conservation and animal behaviour research.
The final stage of your course will be to undertake your own major research project with guidance and support from tutors who are world-class researchers in global change ecology, animal behaviour and welfare, and conservation genetics and evolution.
Our graduates build successful careers in many roles including conservation biologist, scientist or curator at a zoo, conservation educator, ecotourism or environmental consultancy. A number of graduates also go on to study for a PhD. As a conservationist you can choose work with many organisations, from private companies to NGOs and government departments. You’re also in the perfect position to continue your academic career and move up to our Animal and Environmental Sciences PhD.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Technology and Techniques in the Study of Animal BehaviourNew methods available for understanding animal behaviour can provide important insights that aid in understanding vulnerability, and help in the formulation of novel approaches to conservation. Students will develop confidence and autonomy in the selection and use of appropriate laboratory and field based methods for studying animal behaviour relevant to conservation initiatives in zoos and in the wild. As we aim to introduce students to the latest cutting edge technologies and techniques for studying animal behaviour, using leading expertise from inside and outside Anglia Ruskin University, the exact content of the module may differ from year to year.
Current Topics in Wildlife ConservationThis advanced module in conservation aims to provide an awareness of the multi-disciplinary nature of conservation, and the socio-political dimensions of conservation problems and solutions. Topics will be updated from year to year but examples include the uses of environmental DNA in conservation, current issues in marine conservation and endangered species case studies. The module offers the opportunity to apply your understanding of conservation science to current issues at multiple spatial scales (global, European, national and local). This module is delivered largely through distance learning, coupled with regular research seminars at the Cambridge campus.
Behavioural Ecology and ConservationConsider how the behaviour of individual animals will affect the survival probabilities of the species in an increasingly human-altered landscape. An understanding of behaviour can be critical to conservation initiatives. For example, consider how ranging patterns of individuals can affect the success or failure of reserve design; how sex ratios and mating strategies can influence the outcome of a reintroduction; or how models of human harvesting behaviour can be used to predict patterns of wildlife exploitation.
Communication Skills for ConservationOne of the biggest challenges that we face as scientists is being able to translate complex, sometimes uncertain information into language understandable to a range of audiences with little or no specialist knowledge. Communication is key, and as Albert Einstein himself once said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t know enough about it”. As scientists or conservationists, if we want to reach our goal of educating the public or effecting societal change, we need to be able to convey information that engages our target audience. Using real conservation case studies and big datasets, you will analyse and summarise complex information and learn how to deal with uncertainty. Our teaching team will guide you on how to effectively communicate data to a range of audiences, from children and the general public to NGO’s and policymakers, using visual, verbal and written mediums in government reports and on social media.
Research MethodsGain support and foundations in the research skills needed for your Masters level dissertation. You’ll investigate research activities including project management, research project design and analyses, ethical considerations and dissertation preparation.
Research ProjectYou now have the opportunity to select and explore in-depth, a topic that is of interest and relevant to your course in order to develop a significant level of expertise. You will: demonstrate your ability to generate significant and meaningful questions in relation to your specialism; undertake independent research using appropriate, recognised methods based on current theoretical research knowledge, critically understand method and its relationship to knowledge; develop a critical understanding of current knowledge in relation to the chosen subject and to critically analyse and evaluate information and data, which may be complex or contradictory, and draw meaningful and justifiable conclusions; develop the capability to expand or redefine existing knowledge, to develop new approaches to changing situations and/or develop new approaches to changing situations and contribute to the development of best practice; demonstrate an awareness of and to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in their research or professional practice; communicate these processes in a clear and elegant fashion, and evaluate your work from the perspective of an autonomous reflective learner.