Deadline for registration is May 22, 2020
What: We (Professor Jens-Christian Svenning and the MegaPast2Future team at Aarhus University) are happy to announce a re-run of our PhD course (4 ECTS) on megafauna and their importance for ecosystem functioning. Megafauna have roamed Earth for millions of years, but have been, and still are, disproportionally affected by human-driven extinctions and local extirpation. At the same time, given their ecological and cultural importance there is much interest in the conservation and restoration of megafauna, e.g., as a key part of many rewilding efforts, and along with this, much societal debate around animal welfare and human-wildlife coexistence and conflict.
In the course we will provide a general overview of megafauna ecosystem ecology, including the evolutionary history and biogeography of megafauna, current theoretical concepts of megafauna-ecosystem interactions and practical analysis of megafauna trait and occurrence dataset. We will also provide an overview of megafauna conservation and restoration ecology, and a rigorous assessment of ongoing and future megafauna-based rewilding projects, from an ecological, management and human perspective. The course will include training in spatial and community analyses relevant to megafauna ecology in R. Finally, participants will engage in outreach activities on megafauna, through science-based but non peer-reviewed writing, which may be published in a relevant outlet at the conclusion of the course.
The course will include a field excursion to one or more key rewilding sites near Aarhus, likely Lille Vildmose, one of the main rewilding projects in Denmark hosting red deer, moose, wild boar and wisent. Among many other species, there are confirmed sightings of golden eagle, white-tailed eagle and golden jackal.
This course is part of the ongoing MegaPast2Future Project (http://projects.au.dk/mega/) and is generously supported by a Carlsberg Foundation Semper Ardens Grant.
When: August 24-28, 2020
Where: Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in Changing World (BIOCHANGE) and Section for Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity (ECOINF), co-located in the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
How: The course will consist of a mixture of lectures, discussion groups, hands on analytical labs, and a field excursion. With the guidance of the instructors, course participants will complete small writing and communication projects on megafauna ecology, suitable for publication for science outreach. Full participation is required to earn ECTS credits. Course participants must also be able to speak and write in English.
Cost overview: The course will cost 1000 DKK to attend.
Registration: Deadline for registration is May 22, 2020. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than June 5, 2020.