ANT 191 - Topics in Anthropology

This course focuses on the challenges of tropical ecosystem conservation using primates as a model. Ecosystems from the inter-tropical belt are currently experiencing major biodiversity loss due to anthropic factors such as habitat degradation, bushmeat hunting, infectious diseases, alien species introduction and industrial development. Primates are slow-reproducing animals and are among the first affected by these changes. Using case studies from Africa, Asia and South America, this course covers the important theories behind tropical conservation and presents the main approaches used by conservationists to protect and restore ecosystems. This course is geared toward students interested in applying the scientific method to integrate human, ecological and economical variables to find innovative solutions to complex conservation issues.
Course Image

four primates

Faculty

Damien Caillaud, DVM, Ph.D.

Units

4

Prerequisites

None

Quarters

Spring

Description

This class uses case studies to teach the fundamental and applied aspects of tropical ecosystem conservation. It emphasizes the importance of collecting and analyzing field data to measure threats, evaluate risks and design conservation strategies.

Topics taught in the class include:

  • the importance of protecting biodiversity
  • habitat degradation, hunting, climate change, infectious diseases and other threats to tropical biodiversity
  • biodiversity survey methods in tropical forests and open habitats
  • the use of new technologies in conservation (including radio tracking, satellite imagery, forensics and drones)
  • political and legal issues surrounding conservation
  • national parks vs. community conservation
  • reintroduction
  • designing, funding and implementing conservation strategies
  • careers in tropical ecosystem conservation