812024 Species, dragonflies and freshwater: Discovering, appreciating and preserving life

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Offered in
Wintersemester 2022/23
Languages of instruction


Better understanding of freshwater biodiversity's origins, state, and value, particularly regarding dragonflies; Insight in the interaction between biological science, conservation, and the public, notably in the developing world; Greater awareness of the justification of such work, especially concerning the student's own motivation and ambition; Improved writing and presenting skills

Previous knowledge expected

interest in biodiversity and conservation

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Appreciate better the groundwork that precedes scientific and conservation applications, and consider the personal and societal aspects of their future careers.

Understand the basics of freshwater biodiversity and aquatic insect diversification -- One-tenth of animal species live on less than a percent of Earth’s surface. How can we explain that? What do insects tell us about the distribution, speciation, and extinction of freshwater life?

Reflect on the importance of species discovery and description in the 21st century – Based on the guest lecturer’s paper describing 61 species at once (adding 1 to every 12 African dragonfly species known), we explore the relevance and role of exploration in this day and age.
Understand better how to develop a species group for application in freshwater conservation – We go through all the steps, from museum drawers and citizen science, to checklists and maps, to Red Lists and biotic indexes, to training workshops and handheld monitoring tools.

Gain insight on how to convince others to protect freshwater life -- Conservation is often about big beasts like tigers and grand gestures like ocean clean-ups. How will people care about species as ordinary and inconspicuous as those in the rivers that they live by?
Discuss the role science in popularizing species -- While we know the function of ever more genes, most people still don’t have guides or teachers to show the variety of life around them and what it’s doing there.

What can we do? Perceive the part species can play in much-needed societal reform -- Society is bursting with people eager to sustain our ecological and social foundation. Effective mechanisms to support them, however, barely exist. How important are species really and what can we change?
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.