Universität Wien

280145 LP MA-ERD-W-3.26 Conservation Paleobiology and Historical Ecology (PI) (2021S)

Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 15 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursdays 14:00 to 17:00 online (in webinar format)
In-person meetings may also take place in room 2A225, Wilhelm-Klaus-Übungssaal, UZAII, Geozentrum, Althanstraße 14

Thursday 04.03. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 11.03. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 18.03. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 25.03. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 15.04. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 22.04. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 29.04. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 06.05. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 20.05. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 27.05. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 10.06. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 17.06. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital
Thursday 24.06. 14:00 - 17:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course aims at introducing students to the emerging discipline of conservation paleobiology – the use of the historical data and fossil record to address questions on biological conservation. Humans have altered ecosystems for millennia, but in contrast, even the most extensive systematic monitoring rarely encompasses more than the past few decades. Consequently, meaningful benchmarks are hard to define quantitatively and we face challenges to separate anthropogenic impacts from the natural dynamics of ecosystems. Paleoecological data can provide high-resolution records of ecosystem change and variation on timescales well beyond the limits of ecological monitoring, enabling the reconstruction of ecological baselines and the long-term trajectories of ecosystem states.

This course will address the fundamental concepts of conservation paleobiology and its applications to habitat restoration, invasion biology and biodiversity management. It includes practicals to familiarize students with the type of materials and samples and to learn the foundations of data analysis in the statistical programming language R. Eventually, the student will have acquired knowledge on the importance of the time perspective in conservation biology and the necessary skills to put to work the historical and fossil record for conservation science.

The course will address conservation paleobiology approaches in both marine and terrestrial systems, with particular focus on marine invertebrates, fishes and the archeozoological record of vertebrates.

The course will relay on e-learning activities including live streaming of the lectures. Course materials will be available online on Moodle.

Assessment and permitted materials

Fulfilment of practical assignments and reading literature

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Basic knowledge of R (e.g. successful participation in an introductory R course) or after consultation
Active participation and regular attendance (a minimum of 80% of the lectures)

Examination topics

Continuous evaluation during the course based on assignments and active participation.

Reading list

Barnosky et al., 2017. Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems. Science 355: 6325.

Kidwell, 2015. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112 (6): 4922-4929

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:22