In Conservation Priorities, students explore the challenge of setting priorities in conservation, given the limited time, resources and funding available. Students are introduced to ZSL's scientific research and how this informs our in situ and ex situ conservation work. After an discussion of the different reasons a species might be selected for conservation, students are introduced to a scientific and empirically based method used by ZSL to focus their conservation work. Finally, in groups students are allocated an endangered amphibian and tasked with putting together a case for why that species should receive funding for conservation. Students will present these pitches to the rest of the group, with the winner being voted on by the class.

The workshop brings to life our ZSL’s EDGE of Existence project, and how science can be used to make decisions in conservation.

Age: Post 16 Duration: 50mins Capacity: 35 students Location: Indoor
Mountain chicken frog in the leaves

Intended learning outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Explain some of the challenges encountered in conserving wildlife
  • List the different reasons to priorities species for conservation attention
  • Understand ZSL's EDGE programme, an empirically based method for conservation
  • Understand the global amphibian extinction crisis
  • Put together a persuasive argument for conserving a species

Online Teaching Resources:

AQA Biology A Level
3.4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms 3.4.5 Species and taxonomy
  • A phylogenetic classification system attempts to arrange species into groups based on their evolutionary origins and relationships. It uses a hierarchy in which smaller groups are placed within larger groups, with no overlap between groups
  3.4.6 Biodiversity within a community
  • Biodiversity can relate to a range of habitats, from a small local habitat to the Earth.
  • Farming techniques reduce biodiversity. The balance between conservation and farming.
3.7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems 3.7.4 Populations in ecosystems
  • Students should be able to:
    • show understanding of the need to manage the conflict between human needs and conservation in order to maintain the sustainability of natural resources
    • evaluate evidence and data concerning issues relating to the conservation of species and habitats and consider conflicting evidence
    • use given data to calculate the size of a population estimated using the mark-release-recapture method.
Pearson Edexcel A Level Biology A (Salters-Nuffield)
Topic 4: Biodiversity and Natural Resources
  • 4.1 Know that over time the variety of life has become extensive but is now being threatened by human activity.
  • 4.4 Understand how natural selection can lead to adaptation and evolution
  • 4.16 Be able to evaluate the methods used by zoos and seed banks in the conservation of endangered species and their genetic diversity, including scientific research, captive breeding programmes, reintroduction programmes and education.
Pearson Edexcel A Level Biology B
Topic 3: Classification and Biodiversity 3.3 Biodiversity
  • ii) Understand the ethical and economic reasons (ecosystem services) for the maintenance of biodiversity.
  • iii) Understand the principles of ex-situ (zoos and seed banks) and in-situ conservation (protected habitats), and the issues surrounding each method.
Topic 10: Ecosystems 10.4 Human effects on ecosystems
  • i) Understand data relating to human influences on ecosystems, including climate change and depletion of biological resources, including overfishing.
  • iii) Understand the idea that sustainability of resources depends on effective management of the conflict between human needs and conservation, as illustrated by attempts to conserve fish stocks and reduce possible causes of climate change.
OCR A Level Biology A
Module 4: Biodiversity, evolution and disease 4.2 Biodiversity 4.2.1 Biodiversity
  • (f) the factors affecting biodiversity
  • (g) the ecological, economic and aesthetic reasons for maintaining biodiversity
  • (h) in situ and ex situ methods of maintaining biodiversity


OCR A Level Biology B
Module 4: Energy, reproduction and populations 4.3 Photosynthesis, food production and populations 4.3.2 The impact of population increase
  • (b) the impact of the rise in human population on ecosystems and biodiversity


Cambridge International AS & A Level Biology
18: Biodiversity, classification and conservation

18.3 Conservation

Maintaining biodiversity is important for many reasons. Actions to maintain biodiversity must be taken at local, national and global levels. It is important to conserve ecosystems as well as individual species.

  • a) discuss the threats to the biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
  • c) discuss methods of protecting endangered species, including the roles of zoos, botanic gardens, conserved areas (national parks and marine parks), ‘frozen zoos’ and seed banks
  • g) discuss the roles of non-governmental organisations, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in local and global conservation