Biogeography is the study of the distribution of organisms across the earth. The basis of biogeography is evolution and ecology; evolutionary relationships determine the potential mix of species in an area, ecological relationships determine where a species can live, and the two together determine where species are actually found and under what conditions. In this course, we will examine the environmental, spatial, and historical controls on the distributions of species, what forms those distributions take, and the methodologies utilized in biogeographic research. Topics of discussion include the diversity of species, the role of humans in modifying the biogeography of other species, the biogeography of humans, and the applications of biogeography in conservation, land use, and resource management. We will approach these topics through readings (textbook and readings posted to ICON), class discussion, and computer lab activities. Our study of biogeography will center on three key questions:
Why are organisms and groups of organisms where they are?
What does location (geographical space) mean for them?
Why does the number of species vary from place or place?
I teach this course every Fall.