GEOG 338: Biogeography

Biogeography is the study of the spatiotemporal distribution of living things. Biogeographers map and examine the distributions of organisms today and reconstruct those of the past. They also conduct research into how physical and biological factors and processes influence distributions of organisms and they study how geographic distributions affect the evolution and extinction of species.

Earth is a dynamic, wondrous, and complex planet.  The diversity we see in the living systems, i.e. the Earth's biosphere, is the result of many processes studied individually among many disciplines including hydrology, geology, ecology, and soil science. In this course, we will take a holistic and integrative look at the complex spatial variations in the elements of Earth's biosphere. 

This course is designed to explore how biogeographic processes influence the evolution of species, communities, and ecosystems and provides background and analytical techniques for studying the effects of global change on biota. This involves the study of the interplay between biota and environment through time and space.

This course will combine evolutionary and ecological perspectives in the field of biogeography and show how Earth history, contemporary environments, and evolutionary and ecological processes have shaped species distributions and nearly all patterns of biodiversity. General patterns in space and time from a diversity of organisms across the Earth's aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems will be used to illustrate this broad field of biogeography.

Course Credits