Doctorate in Biodiversity and Conservation


Program Description

PhD studies in the field of Biology have a long tradition at the Universidad de La Laguna . The program in Biodiversity and Conservation is supported by consolidated lines and research teams, with high scientific production and training capacity. It offers a wide coverage of doctoral training in different branches of Biology, Environment and Conservation, both in terrestrial and marine areas. It will contribute to the promotion of the employability of highly qualified personnel in an area of ​​social interest, through the professional development of postdoctoral researchers, the training of university teaching and research staff, as well as personnel directed to management. The study of Biodiversity and Conservation is one of the three strategic areas of the ULL (Campus of International Excellence-Intercontinental Atlantic Campus- Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, 2010).

Justification of the title

The Doctorate in Life Sciences and the Environment, in extinction, currently has 74 doctorates enrolled, all of them in the doctoral thesis phase or in the preparation phase of the presentation and defense of their theses. In the last five academic years (from 2008-2009 to 2012-2013) in this Doctorate, 66 Doctoral Theses have been read. The Doctorate in Biology counted, in its first year of validity (2012-2013) with 11 doctorate students enrolled, and another 12 doctoral students have enrolled in the current course 2013-2014, all still in the process of completing their Doctoral Thesis. Considering these programs proposed at the time by the Faculty of Biology of the Universidad de La Laguna (ULL), as references of previous experiences of this university in the delivery of doctoral programs of similar characteristics, we contemplate the admission of 25 doctoral students per academic year, being 10 of them the squares destined to students to part-time, that in the case of not being covered could be occupied by students full-time. The demand and interest of the program is supported by the statistical data corresponding to the previous doctoral programs of the last biennia.

The degrees that will mainly support the proposed PhD program will be the Masters in Terrestrial Biodiversity and Islands Conservation and Marine Biology: Biodiversity and Conservation, attached to the ULL's School of Biology and currently in force. However, the access profile is broader taking into account that the disciplines taught in other ULL master's degrees or in foreign or national foreign masters include topics from the research lines that make up the program. In this regard, we should highlight the continuous requests received by potential PhD students, graduates of different degrees attached to other Spanish universities or European or American countries, requesting information about our current doctorate. These data provide information about the potential demand of the doctoral program that is proposed.

The program on Biodiversity and Conservation is supported by consolidated research lines and teams, both in terrestrial and marine areas. The program offers a wide range of doctoral training to graduates in the different branches of Biology and the Environment. It will contribute to the promotion of the employability of highly qualified personnel in an area of ​​social interest, through the professional development of postdoctoral researchers in the areas of Biodiversity and Conservation, training of university teaching and research staff, and training of researchers aimed at administration on issues related to conservation.

The proposed doctoral program will be integrated into the newly created Doctoral School at the Universidad de La Laguna . As stated in its Regulation of Official Teaching of Doctorate, the ULL will structure its doctoral training in a single Doctoral School, in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree 99/2011, with the aim of organizing, within its scope of management, the teachings and activities of the doctorate. The Doctoral School will guarantee the development of its own strategy, linked to the research strategy of the ULL and, where appropriate, of the Public Research Organizations and other entities and institutions involved.

The School will plan the necessary offer of activities inherent to the training and development of doctoral students, carried out either by collaborators of the university and promoting entities, with the help of external professionals, visiting professors or researchers, and will guarantee leadership in their field. and a sufficient critical mass of PhD teachers and PhD students.

The study of Biodiversity and Conservation is one of the three strategic areas of the ULL, especially in matters related to marine ecosystems, as stated in the report of the Campus of International Excellence (Intercontinental Atlantic Campus) granted by the Ministry of Education in 2010, and which includes subprojects for teaching and scientific improvement and adaptation to the EHEA. In addition to the ULL's own resources, this doctorate has for its development resources from the other participating centers or centers that collaborate continuously with the researchers participating in this program. The participating research teams currently have 9 active research projects funded by competitive calls from national public bodies and 5 European projects.

Research on conservation and biodiversity management issues is currently a matter of survival, especially in a territory like the Canary Islands where demographic pressure is very high. The insular environments, and especially those of oceanic islands, present peculiar characteristics (isolation, simple ecological communities, high number of endemisms, scarcity or absence of predators, meekness of the species, etc.) that make them more susceptible to diverse Threat factors.

The terrestrial and marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands is of extraordinary interest at a national and international level. The Canary Islands, together with Madeira and the rest of the archipelagos of Macaronesia, constitute a hot spot of interest for researchers from all over the world, and especially Europeans. Especially in the last decade, the volume of research related to these islands has tripled with the collaboration of specialists from all over the world. This implies that research in this field of Biological Sciences has an impact not only on an island scale, but also on a national, European and global scale, and there are numerous references for postgraduate studies and doctoral programs framed in areas analogous to those that are the subject of this study. proposal. The conservation of the marine and terrestrial environment needs an integral approach that requires both the classical disciplines and molecular and paleobiological approaches that help to catalog the different living beings and their relationships, and know their temporal and spatial distribution. In addition, living beings are also sources of wealth, such as new molecules with multiple applications in different fields.

Currently, from the public and private organizations, the existence of highly qualified technicians is demanded both in regard to the knowledge of the natural environment and its conservation: the evaluation, monitoring and recovery of threatened species, restoration of degraded natural spaces, evaluation of environmental impact, eradication of exotic species, planning of public use in protected areas, ecological monitoring of protected ecosystems. The list of evidences described supports the viability of the proposed program, both in terms of being able to reach the critical mass of the thesis as well as the minimum number of students enrolled.



  • CB11 - Systematic understanding of a field of study and mastery of research skills and methods related to that field.
  • CB12 - Ability to conceive, design or create, implement and adopt a substantial research or creation process.
  • CB13 - Ability to contribute to the expansion of knowledge frontiers through original research.
  • CB14 - Ability to perform a critical analysis and evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas.
  • CB15 - Ability to communicate with the academic and scientific community and with society in general about their fields of knowledge in the modes and languages ​​commonly used in their international scientific community.
  • CB16 - Ability to promote, in academic and professional contexts, the scientific, technological, social, artistic or cultural advancement within a society based on knowledge.

Personal abilities and skills

  • CA01 - Develop in contexts in which there is little specific information.
  • CA02 - Find the key questions that must be answered to solve a complex problem.
  • CA03 - Design, create, develop and undertake innovative and innovative projects in their field of knowledge.
  • CA04 - Work both as a team and independently in an international or multidisciplinary context.
  • CA05 - Integrate knowledge, face complexity and formulate judgments with limited information.
  • CA06 - The intellectual criticism and defense of solutions.

Formation activities

  • Assistance to research seminars
  • Imparting of the seminar
  • Assistance to national or international congresses
  • Mobility (stay in other research centers)

Lines of investigation

Research Line: Biodiversity and Conservation in the Earth's Environment


  1. Systematics, Biogeography and Evolution of arthropods.
  2. Ecology and Biogeography of islands.
  3. Conservation and Biogeography in plants.
  4. Soil microbiology: bacterial diversity and its biotechnological potential.
  5. Plant ecophysiology.
  6. Ecology and Evolution in islands.
  7. Degradation and Conservation of soils.
  8. Soil and Water Resources.
  9. Forest dynamics of insular forests.
  10. Human pathogenic microorganisms: genomic and genetic characterization.
  11. Regeneration of the Central Nervous System: visual way of reptiles and rat.
  12. Geology of the Oceanic Islands: the Canary Islands.
  13. Genetic variability.

Research Line: Biodiversity and Conservation in the Marine Environment

Research sub-lines

  1. Biodiversity and marine ecology of the Canary Islands and Macaronesia.
  2. Phytobenthos: composition, structure and alterations.
  3. Human impacts on marine ecosystems.
  4. Physiology of nutrition, reproduction and stress in species of interest for European aquaculture.
  5. Genomics of marine microorganisms.
  6. Genetic variability.

Admission criteria

As an income profile it is recommended that they possess the following characteristics: (1) Knowledge of biodiversity and conservation, (2) Observation capacity and analysis of data on biodiversity, (3) Ability to search and use common sources of information in these fields of study, (4) Creative and innovation capacity, (5) Oral and written transmission capacity, (6) Ease of understanding and use of new technologies in the field of biodiversity and conservation, (7) Knowledge of foreign languages to access information sources and be able to present and discuss work in scientific meetings, (8) Ability to work individually and collectively, and (9) Critical sense and self-criticism. In general, it is recommended that they have acquired skills that enable them to carry out their research work in any of the research lines of the program, so the recommended access degrees are Biology, Environmental Sciences, Marine Sciences or related. It is considered appropriate that students have a minimum level of English B1, according to European parameters.

In the event that the demand exceeds the limit of students established annually for the program, the selection criteria to be used will be the following:

  • Academic record in the bachelor's and master's degrees, prior to the doctorate (80%)
  • Research experience or other merits related to research (10%)
  • Reference report by a professor of a research line of the program (10%)

In addition, when the Academic Committee so requires, a personal interview may be held with the applicants in order to provide more information to the selection process.

The evaluation criteria for this interview will be:

  • Knowledge of the doctoral program (25%)
  • The doctoral student's interest in his lines of research and the coherence of the interview with the reference report (s) delivered (50%)
  • Predisposition, motivation and personal commitment of the candidate to complete his thesis project (25%)

The body responsible for the selection of future doctoral candidates will be the Academic Committee of the Doctoral Program in Biodiversity and Conservation.

In the case of students with special educational needs derived from the disability, the appropriate support and counseling services of the ULL will be used to assess the need for possible curricular adaptations, itineraries or alternative studies. The ULL, through the Vice-rectorate of Students and the Welfare Services, has been developing a Program of Attention to Students with Disabilities (PAED) since 1999. The objective of this program is to guarantee equal opportunities and promote the integration of students with specific educational support needs. EL PAED, through direct and personalized attention, promotes concrete measures for the integral development of these students in an open and accessible environment. The PAED maintains a stable structure of support through calls. Through personal interviews the needs are known and individual action plans are designed, teachers are informed about the difficulties and advice and technical support is offered. Three programs are currently underway, one to support students with auditory deficit (sign language), another about transportation for students with mobility deficits and another to adapt the educational environment

In the case of part-time students, must be stated in the application for admission, or once admitted, when some of the circumstances mentioned below and allowing the recognition of this condition, without prejudice to the Rules of Permanence established by the ULL:

a) Be working and documentally accredit the employment relationship;

b) Being affected by a degree of physical or sensorial disability that determines the need to study part-time;

c) To be doing specialized training in this or another university with part-time dedication;

d) Have the status of primary caregiver of dependents or have children under 3 years of age dependent on them;

e) Be a high level competitive athlete;

f) Other conditions of a family or social nature that are duly justified. For all these cases you will need the certificate that accredits you. The recognition of the status of student with part-time dedication will be reviewed and ratified annually. In any case, the student may request a change of the modality of dedication during the development of the program. Likewise, students who, during the development of the program, lose the condition for which they were granted part-time dedication will automatically become full-time students.

Last updated Mar 2020

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About the School

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad ... Read More

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad y contribuyendo decisivamente a su modernización. Read less
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