PhD In Biodiversity And Conservation

Universidad de La Laguna

Program Description

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PhD In Biodiversity And Conservation

Universidad de La Laguna

Doctoral studies in the field of biology have a long tradition at the University of La Laguna. The Biodiversity and Conservation program is supported by lines and research teams consolidated, 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 the terrestrial and marine. 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, training of teaching staff and university researchers, as well as management personnel. The study of Biodiversity and Conservation is one of the three strategic areas of the ULL (Campus of International Excellence - Atlantic Intercontinental Campus - Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, 2010).

Justification title

The PhD in Life Sciences and the Environment, now extinct, currently has 74 PhD students enrolled, all of them in the PhD thesis or in the preparation phase of the presentation and defense of their theses. In the last five academic courses (from 2008-2009 to 2012-2013) in this PhD have been read 66 PhD theses. The Doctorate in Biology counted in its first course of validity (2012-2013) with 11 doctorates enrolled, and another 12 doctoral students have enrolled in the current course 2013-2014, all still in the stage of completion of their Doctoral Thesis. Considering these programs proposed at the time by the Faculty of Biology of the University of La Laguna (ULL), as references of previous experiences of this university in the teaching of doctoral programs of similar characteristics, we contemplate the admission of 25 doctoral students by academic year, with 10 of them being places for part-time students, which, if not covered, could be filled by full-time students. The demand and interest of the program is supported by the statistical data corresponding to the previous doctoral programs of the last bienniums.

The degrees that will mainly feed the new proposed doctoral program will be the Masters in Terrestrial Biodiversity and Conservation in Islands and Marine Biology: Biodiversity and Conservation, attached to the Faculty of Biology of the ULL and currently in force. However, the access profile is broader considering that the disciplines taught in other master's degrees in the ULL or in national or foreign master's degrees include topics of the lines of research that make up the program. In this regard, we highlight the continuous applications received by potential doctoral 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 on the potential demand of the proposed doctoral program.

The Biodiversity and Conservation program is supported by consolidated lines and research teams, both in land and sea. The program offers a wide range of doctoral training to graduates in the different branches of Biology and 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 teaching staff and university researchers, and training of researchers directed to the management in issues related to conservation.

The proposed doctoral program will be integrated in the newly created Doctoral School at the University of La Laguna. As stated in its Regulations for Official Doctorate Studies, the ULL will structure its doctoral training in a single Doctoral School, in accordance with the provisions of Royal Decree 99/2011, in order to organize, within its scope of management, the lessons and activities of the doctorate. The Doctorate School will guarantee the development of its own strategy, linked to the research strategy of the ULL and, if applicable, 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 MINECO in 2010, and which includes teaching and scientific improvement subprojects and adaptation to the EHEA. In addition to the ULL's own resources, this doctorate counts for its development with the resources of 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 in competitive calls from national public bodies and 5 European projects.

Research on conservation and management of biodiversity is now a matter of survival, especially in a territory such as the Canary Islands, where population pressure is very high. Insular environments, especially oceanic islands, have peculiar characteristics (isolation, simple ecological communities, high number of endemisms, scarcity or absence of predators, meekness of species, etc.) that make them more susceptible to the various factors of threat.

The terrestrial and marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands is of extraordinary national and international interest. The Canary Islands, along 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 on these islands has tripled with the collaboration of specialists from around the world. This implies that research in this field of biological sciences has a repercussion not only at the insular, but also at the national, European and world level, with numerous references of postgraduate studies and doctoral programs framed in areas similar to those which are the subject of this proposal. The conservation of the marine and terrestrial environment needs a comprehensive approach that requires both the classical disciplines and molecular and paleobiological approaches that help to catalog the different living beings and their relationships, and to know their temporal and spatial distribution. In addition, living things are also sources of wealth, such as new molecules with multiple applications in different fields.

At present, public and private organizations demand the existence of highly qualified technicians both in terms of knowledge of the natural environment and its conservation: evaluation, monitoring and recovery of threatened species, restoration of degraded natural areas, 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 feasibility of the proposed program, both in terms of reaching the critical mass of thesis as well as the minimum number of students enrolled.



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

Personal skills and skills

  • CA01 - Navigating our contexts in which there is little specific information.
  • CA02 - Find the key questions that must be answered to solve a complex problem.
  • CA03 - To design, create, develop and launch new and innovative projects in its field of knowledge.
  • CA04 - Work in both equipment and autonomously in an international or multidisciplinary context.
  • CA05 - Integrate knowledge, handle complexity, and formulate judgments with limited information.
  • CA06 - Criticism and defense of intellectual solutions.

Training 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 a profile of income, it is recommended that they have the following characteristics: (1) Knowledge of biodiversity and conservation, (2) Ability to observe and analyze biodiversity data, (3) Ability to search for and use usual information sources in these fields of study, (4) Creative and innovative ability, (5) Oral and written communication skills, (6) Ease of understanding and use of new technologies in the field of biodiversity and conservation, (7) Knowledge of foreign languages to access sources of information and to be able to present and discuss papers in scientific meetings, (8) Ability to work individually and collectively, and (9) Critical and self-critical. In general, it is recommended that they have acquired competences that enable them to develop their research work in any of the research lines of the program, so the recommended access qualifications are Biology, Environmental Sciences, Marine Sciences or related. It is considered appropriate for students to have a minimum level of English B1, according to European standards.

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 undergraduate and master's degrees, pre-doctorate (80%)
  • Research experience or other research-related merits (10%)
  • Reference report by a teacher of a program research line (10%)

In addition, when the Academic Commission so requires, a personal interview may be conducted 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%)
  • Interest of the doctoral student for 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 Commission 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, which will evaluate the need for possible curricular adaptations, itineraries or alternative studies. The ULL, through the Vicerrectorado de Alumnado and the Assistance Services, develops since 1999 a Program of Assistance to Students with Disabilities (PAED). 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 technical advice and support is offered. Currently, three programs are underway: one for students with hearing impairment (sign language), another on transportation for students with mobility deficits and another for adapting the educational environment

In the case of part-time students, the application for admission, or once admitted, must be recorded when certain of the circumstances mentioned below are present and allow recognition of this condition, without prejudice to the Rules of Permanence established by the ULL:

a) To be working and documentary proof of the employment relationship;

b) To be affected of a degree of physical or sensorial disability determinant of the necessity to study part-time studies;

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

d) To have the condition of main caregiver of dependent persons or to have children under 3 years of their charge;

e) To be a competitive sportsman;

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

This school offers programs in:
  • Spanish

Last updated November 9, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
Part time
Full time
Spain - Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
Spain - Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info