MASTER OF SCIENCE IN ECOLOGICAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the Faculty of Science and Technology Regulations and the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees hereinafter referred to as the General Regulations.

1.2 The degree shall be awarded to candidates who have successfully completed the programme and the examinations in accordance with regulations set in the Faculty Regulations.

2. AIMS

2.1 The overarching objective of this programme is to equip graduates with knowledge, skills and techniques relevant to the sustainable management of ecological resources with emphasis on the southern Africa region.

2.2 In doing this, the programme recognizes that sustainable management includes utilization of resources and their protection.

2.3 The programme is directed at outcomes based education at the Masters level with emphasis on the application of principles of population and community ecology to environment management and conservation in Southern Africa.

2.3 Graduates completing the programme should have the ability to apply scientific methods to solve conservation and community ecology to environmental management related problems and to predict and monitor the consequences of human activities on theenvironment.

3. EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

After completing this programme, graduates should be able to:

– teach at universities

– work as environmentalists

– work as fisheries and wildlife scientists

– create environmental awareness

4. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible for admission to the programme, a candidate must normally be a holder of at least an upper second- class first degree in Biological Sciences or other related degree awarded by the Midlands State University or any other recognized institution.

5. GENERAL PROVISIONS

5.1 The programme shall normally be studied over a minimum period of one and half years (three semesters) on a full time basis.

5.2 Dissertation

Refer To Section 8 The General Regulations

5.2.1 The dissertation shall constitute a single semester in level two during which time the student is expected to undertake research for a period not exceeding six months.

Each candidate is expected to submit a dissertation not exceeding one hundred and fifty (150) pages.

5.2.2 Candidates shall be required to submit three typed copies one of which shall be deposited in the university library, one shall be submitted to the departmental library and the last copy will be returned to the student.

5.2.3 The format of the dissertation shall be provided by the Department of Biological Sciences.

6. ASSESSMENT

6.1 Formal examination will be held at the end of each semester.

6.2 Continuous assessment shall account for 30% of all the overall assessment, while the final examination will account for 70% of the overall assessment.

6.3 The aggregate pass mark shall be 50%

6.4 The aggregate pass mark will comprise a pass in the final examination and a pass in the continuous assessment.

7. PROGRESSION

A student must have passed modules worth at the least 30 credits in the first level in order to proceed to the second level (dissertation).

8. MARKING SCHEME

Refer to Section 21 of the General Regulations

9. DEGREE CLASSIFICATION

For the purpose of degree classification, the parts of the degree programme will be classified as follows:

Level 1 (semester 1 and 2) 70%

Level 2 (Dissertation) 30%

10. NOTIFICATION OF RESULTS

Refer to Section 42 of the General Regulations

11. PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

Level 1 Semester 1

CodeDescriptionCredits
MERM701Scientific Research Methodology4
MERM702Principles of Environmental Management4
MERM 703Conservation Biology4
MERM704Systematics and Biodiversity4

Level 1 Semester 2

CodeDescriptionCredits
MERM 705Environmental Biotechnology4
MERM 706Seminar and Review Paper2

 

Elective Modules: Choose any two

CodeDescriptionCredits
MERM 707Aquaculture and Fisheries Management4
MERM 708Wildlife Management4
MERM 709Freshwater Resources Management and Environment Sanitation4
MERM710Fisheries and Wildlife Parasitology4
MERM 711Terrestrial Ecology4

Level 2 Semester 1

CodeDescriptionCredits
MERM 801Dissertation4

12. MODULE SYNOPSES

MERM 701 SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Analytical and writing skills essential for careers in Ecology, Conservation and Environmental Management ranging from: sampling & experimental design; exploratory data analysis; statistical inferences in regression analysis & univariate statistical analysis; multivariate techniques; non parametric tests estimating abundance in animal & plant populations; estimating community parameters;estimation of survival rates; transformations; database management, and scientific communication skills

MERM702 Principles of Environmental Management

Principles and legislation governing, and techniques used in Environmental Management. The module content includes: Definitions; Social Impact Assessment; Environmental management Policy (ISO 14000); Environmental Auditing; Product Life cycle assessment; Environmental Risk Management; Environmental legislation in Zimbabwe.

MERM 703 Conservation Biology

Application of biological techniques to the specific problems of biodiversity, species preservation, ecological sustainability, and habitat fragmentation in the face of advancing human, social, economic, and industrial pressures. Includes instruction in ecology, environmental science, biological systems, extinction theory, human animal and human plant interaction, ecosystem science and management. Environmental problems in wetlands, forest and wildlife biology over a variety of scales(local to global) from a conservation perspective. Ecological principles applied to conservation of habitats and biodiversity. Influence of human activity on population dynamics, genetics, and community structure. Mathematical and evolutionary treatment of population growth and regulation, niche theory, foraging theory, predator-prey theory, habitat selection, and competition. Characteristics of tropical ecosystems, tropical biological communities and human cultures in the tropics and the implications for communities and conservations. Social science dimensions of conservation and sustainable development, social economic, and political considerations in managing natural resources, policy-level aspects to project implementation.

MERM 704 Systematics and Biodiversity

History of taxonomy and uses of classifications and phylogenies- process of plant identification, use of identification tools including handbooks and principles of automated key construction, nomenclature, revisionary taxonomy, scientific description and illustration. Sources and handling of taxonomic data, taxonomic collections- curational and financial aspects of herbaria and museum collections. Theory and practice of biodiversity assessment. Conceptual issues of biodiversity and analysis and practical application will be discussed. Within country monitoring of biodiversity and conservation programmes will be looked at. Analytical methods include diversity indices, species abundance models, species accumulation curves, comparative species richness and abundance.

MERM 705 Environmental Biotechnology

Use of biotechnology in preventing and abating environmental pollution. It involves; an overview of biotechnology and environment, environmental monitoring; monitoring pollution. Water quality concept, Waste, Sewage and Sludge treatment. Waste minimization, Bioremediation, Energy and environment, Natural Resources recovery, Biosafety and legislation, Environmental Impact assessment.

MERM 707 Aquaculture and Fisheries Management

Fish biology, ecology and habitats relevant fisheries on both a global and regional (Southern Africa) scale. Course focuses on the general biology of fishes, with emphasis on trends in their evolution, integrative and sensory biology, physiology, feeding ecology, reproductive growth, and population dynamics as they relate to fisheries. Principles of fish management in freshwater systems. Population sampling and estimation, statistical assumptions and robustness, length-frequency analysis, length-weight relationships, transformations, data presentations, mark-recapture, growth and empirical modeling of populations, General Aspects of Aquaculture, Freshwater Ecology, Larval Food Production and Larviculture, Freshwater Ecology, Algae/Fish Culture, Environmental Impact, Fish Breeding; Genetics and Nutrition, Health and Disease Control, Management of culture systems, Tropical aquaculture species, Fish Farming Systems, Tropical Aquaculture, Farm Management, Management in the Aquaculture Industry.

MERM 708 Wildlife Management

Introduction to the wildlife of Zimbabwe, an overview of the present status of that wildlife, and an understanding of both conservation problems and management solutions. Issues in wildlife management are exemplified using a broad range of vertebrate species occupying different environments. Assessing population status and recognizing differences between `small populations’ and `declining populations’. Introducing methods used in population pattern analysis, demographic analysis, threat and resource assessment, emphasizing the value of a coordinated and interdisciplinary approach to problem recognition and resolution. Evaluation of the likely cost-effectiveness of programs such as captive breeding and re-introduction programs. Develop knowledge of the technologies available to capture and translocate wildlife, and of the planning required to ensure the best possible chance of success. It will also consider the tools that are available to manage captive populations, including molecular genetics and enhanced reproduction technologies.

MERM709 Freshwater Resources Management and Environmental Sanitation

Concepts developed in the Aquatic Ecology and Conservation modules will be developed and applied to conservation and management of plant and animals in Aquatic Ecosystems.

Interbasin water Transfers, Ecological Reserve concept, Water demand management, introduced plant and animal species in Southern Africa; Sources and causes of aquatic pollution; Methodologies for detection and analysis of aquatic pollution; prevention and abatement of aquatic pollution; biodiversity conventions and government obligation; Exploitation of natural populations; Aquatic ecotoxicology; Risk assessment of chemicals.

MERM 710 Fisheries and Wildlife Parasitology

Fish parasites protozoans, monogeneans, cestodes and nematodes, treatment procedures against fish parasites; water borne diseases caused by protozoans and helminthes; relationship of adverse environmental factors and diseases caused by fish parasites; relationship between the severity of pollution in natural waters and parasitic diseases; fish health management in re-circulating aquaculture systems.

Wild life parasitology- diversity and complexity of host parasite relationship in our indigenous wildlife; identification of wildlife parasites and effects of parasitism on host behavior.

MERM 711 Terrestrial Ecology

Terestrial ecology can be subdivided into forest, grassland, arctic, and desert ecology, concerns such aspects terrestrial ecosystems as microclimate, soil chemistry, soil fauna, hydrologic cycles, ecogenetics, and productivity. An introduction to a range of terrestrial ecosystems. Topics covered include ecological principles, ecosystem dynamics and functioning, restoration, conservation genetics, conservation ecology, forest ecosystems, wetland ecosystems and modified ecosystems. There is a
compulsory practical requirement including attendance at field trips. The aim is to ensure that by the end course students will have background knowledge of the administration of understanding of the principles of conservation management. Students will also gain some experience about the threats to natural and semi-natural sites from direct loss (e.g industry, urbanization, agriculture) and from changes due to succession or visitor pressure. The ecology of some key habitats grasslands, woodlands wetlands will be covered.

MERM 801 Dissertation

Each student will complete a 6-month research project drawn broadly from ecology, parasitology and conservation. The project will give practical experience of fieldwork, molecular lab work, experiments, and /or theory as well as wide range of general skills. Students can choose topics from the following areas.

Population and conservation Genetics

Herbivores and plant species richness

Aquatic Ecology

Fisheries Management

Environmental Biotechnology

Entomology

Animal Parasitology

Aquaculture