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Biogeography (BiSc 211)

Instructor: TBD
Number of Credits: 3
Level of instruction: graduate
Description: This course provides a comprehensive survey of the current methods and techniques used in biogeography, and the development of modern biogeographic theory in the context of classical, ecological, and cladistic methods of analysis. Geological and paleontological aspects of biogeography are presented, and large-scale biogeographic patterns discussed. Coevolution is also addressed because similar methods of analysis are used. The first part of the course covers background information, methods, and issues in biogeography. The second part of the course explores in seminar format particular subjects in detail. The final part of the course focuses on recent case studies of biogeographic analyses.
How often is the course offered: Fall Semester, odd years
What is the average enrollment: We anticipate an enrollment of 8-10 students each year.
How broad a student audience is served by the course: We anticipate an enrollment of graduate students from GWU (departments of Biology, Genetics, and Anthropology) and University of Maryland (Biology Departments).

Lecture Syllabus

Week 1
Physical geography, plate tectonics, climate, physical and biological limits to distributions

Week 2
Descriptive biogeography: broad-scale biogeographic patterns, endemism and diversity patterns

Week 3
Descriptive biogeography: MacArthur and Wilson, island biogeography and its application to conservation theory

Week 4
Interpretive biogeography: ecological and historical perspectives on biogeography, dispersal and vicariance, refugia, Component analysis

Week 5
Speciation and extinction, paleontology

Week 6
Parasite-host, plant-pollinator, and plant-herbivore coevolution

Week 7
Seminar- differing perspectives: ecological and cladistic biogeography, panbiogeography

Week 8
Seminar- analyses of coevolution

Week 9
Seminar- role of paleontological data

Week 10
Seminar- case studies

Week 11
Seminar- case studies

Week 12
Seminar- case studies

Week 13
Seminar- case studies