Course Description: Biogeography is the study of the past, present and future geographic patterns of biological diversity, as well the complex causes of these patterns. Students will get acquainted with the scientific foundation of biogeography, including the historical and ecological foundations to understand the distribution of animals and plants, interactions between species and their environment, the world’s major biomes and biogeographic regions, concepts to measure and analyze biodiversity, and the role of biodiversity for ecosystems and the services they provide. Students will learn how to read, critically reflect on, and summarize primary research literature, develop presentation skills, and learn how to work efficiently in teams. Student will also deepen and broaden their statistical, geoprocessing, and modelling skills to analyze and answer questions related to the distribution and conservation plants and animals, including their programming skills in the statistical language R.
The course consists of lectures and discussion rounds (2SWS, 2SP) that introduce basic concepts in biogeography. Topics include: History of biogeography, Taxonomy and systematics, Niches and ranges, Dispersal and colonization, Speciation and extinction, Island biogeography, Floristic & zoographic realms, Biomes, Concepts of biodiversity, Conservation biogeography.
The seminar deepens lecture topics via reading and discussing primary literature. The seminar also provides an introduction in the basic concepts and tools to analyze biodiversity patterns and dynamics (e.g., species-area curves, species distribution models) using the statistical programming environment R.
Workload: the course is based on 4h per week in class and about
- Lecture: 2SWS, 90 hours (3 SP), 25 hours in the classroom, 65 hours preparation, exercises and readings
- Seminar: 2SWS, 150 hours (6 SP), 25 hours in the classroom, 125 hours preparation, exercises and readings
- TEX: one 1-day excursion to the Botanical Garden (1 SP), 8h excursion, 12h preparation & reporting (separate registration is required for that!)
Prerequisites: Modules M3 (Statistics) and M6 (GIS)
Final Exam: The final exam is a written examination (90 min, 1 SP)
The class will be taught in English if foreign students are attending, otherwise in German.