The International School of Marine Conservation Science focuses on the multiple aspects of evidence based conservation in marine ecosystems, including the physical, biological, and human dimension components. We seek to identify the linkages between understanding biological systems human impacts and the critical role of social science, education, and politics in conservation planning. isMCS program is comprised of lectures, laboratory exercises, readings and discussions, student projects, guest lectures and field courses in Slovenia, Italy and Croatia. 









Introduction to the Science of Marine Conservation: Why might the oceans be in trouble?

Linking biological and social sciences in marine conservation

Lab: Communicating with decision makers and stakeholders, facilitation, conflict resolution



Marine Biodiversity: biodiversity metrics, conservation genetics, functional biodiversity


Field trip: Nature Park Strunjan (Slovenia): Biodiversity field sampling #1



Fisheries biology: life history traits, population assessment, linking behavioral ecology and

marine conservation

Life history lab: Age and growth , yield per recruit, population trend analysis



Impact of fisheries on marine species and habitats: solutions to fisheries impacts


Field trip:Marine reserve of Miramare (Italy): Biodiversity sampling #2, Biodiversity lab



Population assessment, extinction risk analysis and IUCN Red Listing, management

strategy evaluation

Lab: Population modeling and extinction risk analysis




Marine Spatial Ecology: habitats, impacts, marine protected areas, human dimension of

marine conservation

Lab: Marine spatial ecology, marine reserve design




Ecosystem based management: dynamic marine spatial planning, EBM tools, human

dimensions of EBM and transboundary marine conservation

Field trip: Sečovlje Salina Nature Reserve (Slovenia)




Marine Conservation in practice: biological and social values of rescue centers and aquaria


Field trip: Sea Turtle Rescue Center, Aquarium Pula (Croatia)




Marine Conservation in practice: Adriatic Dolphin Project


Field trip: Blue World Institute, Veli Lošinj (Croatia)




Marine Conservation in practice: Integrating interdisciplinary knowledge in marine

conservation science

Field trip: Blue World Institute, Veli Lošinj (Croatia)


Course Format

The International School of Marine Conservation Science combines lectures, readings and discussions, laboratory exercises, student presentations and field trips to give students a rich experience in an intensive, short-course format. Using a common, relaxed classroom model, students are encouraged to ask questions openly and to actively participate in discussion. The course will ran for 10 days, including 2.5 days of field excursions.

Total time commitments are as follows:

In-class lectures:

25 hours

Guest lectures and discussions:

10 hours

Laboratory exercises:

15 hours

Readings and Discussion of primary literature:

10-15 hours

Preparation of student presentations:

10-15 hours

Field course activities:

15-20 hours

Students who fulfill all requirements receive a certificate and 6 ECTS credits towards their university degree (students registered through the University of Primorska), or a certificate and 5 US credits (students registered through the Oregon State University).

Course materials

Lecture notes, required readings, and computer programs will be provided. There is no textbook required for this class. Supplemental readings will be made available in support of topics discussed in class.

Computer labs

Students are encouraged to bring their own laptop to this class. Most computer-based activities will use Excel spreadsheets and/or freely available software. Other software will be provided. Students will work in teams of 2 or 3. Experience with Excel is beneficial, but students are not expected to have extensive mathematical or statistical skills.

Group Projects

During the class, students will work in small groups (3-4) on a paper and presentation on a conservation issue of their choice, approved by isMCS instructors. It is expected that you will work with students not from your home country. Group projects represent a form of the final exam, and will use the following outline:

  • Problem Identification
  • Inventory of available information
  • Identification of affected groups, perceptions and opinions
  • Conservation options
  • Research and Monitoring Plan
  • Assessment
  • Expected results and impacts.

Presentations are given to the class on the final day of the lecture course.

Daily Schedule

The schedule will vary from day to day, but a typical day might proceed like the schedule below. Each day is long, but substantial breaks are scheduled in the morning, at lunch, in the afternoon, and evening in order for students to relax, catch up on work, and interact with their colleagues.


Discussion of required readings




Coffee Break


Computer lab


Lunch Break




Coffee Break


Time to work on Group Projects


Dinner Break


Evening Lecture given by guest speaker