Gheler-Costa, C., Soncksen, B.M., Santos, G.M.C. & Rosalino, L.M. (2018) Perceptions of nature conservation by future biologists attending private universities in São Paulo State, Brazil.Ecological Research, 33(6), 1125-1135. DOI:10.1007/s11284-018-1621-1 (IF2018 1,546; Q3 Ecology)
As conservation agents, biologists play a central role in nature preservation as information-gatherers, promoters of environmental education, lobbyists, and members of societies. Consequently, it is important to understand what factors determine their attitudes towards conservation. We aimed to assess which taxa and recovery measures students from biology core courses consider priorities for conservation and to determine the value students associate with conservation compared to other topics. We asked students (n = 122) from two private universities in São Paulo State, Brazil to fill out an anonymous questionnaire. They highlighted rarity, vanishing habitats and endemism as important criteria in prioritizing species. Carnivores were identified as the most threatened mammals and habitat recovery was deemed to be the most efficient conservation action. Students valued healthcare, cultural heritage and science over conservation. Our results reveal a two-sided perspective of conservation among students from biology core courses; they possess knowledge of conservation issues but are greatly influenced by anthropocentric and utilitarian views of nature.