Conservation Genetics

Unit code: NPU3106 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Park
RBF1310 - Biology 1
RBF1320 - Biology 2
RBF2610 - Fundamentals of Ecology
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


This unit focuses on the practical applications of genetics of the individual and population as it relates to the conservation of Australian plants and animals. Particularly, this unit examines the genetic basis for management decisions and the formulation of conservation-based breeding programs. Applications of genetics and formulation of management plans based on genetics form a major area of study in this unit. Some specific topics involve genetic structuring of populations, gene flow and fragmentation, hybridization and retaining genetic diversity in limited populations. Students engage with real-world applications of genetic methods in biodiversity conservation.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and elucidate the role and importance of genetics to the management of species and populations and its application to the field of natural resource management as a whole, including the limitations of genetic data;
  2. Formulate and argue a theoretical basis on which to base management decisions aimed at long-term conservation of genetic resources in a population;
  3. Construct and exhibit a practical understanding and application of the methods used in modern genetics and how these tools can be applied to the management of species and populations; and
  4. Critically analyse data relating to taxonomy, phylogenetic relationships and population genetics and consider implications for conservation and reproductive interventions such as manual pollination or selective breeding.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Test
Grade: 30%
Assessment type: Report
Grade: 30%
Practical reports and simulations
Assessment type: Report
Grade: 40%
Lab Report

Required reading

Recommended texts and other reading and course materials will be listed in VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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