Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.
Biogeography is the study of where species are located in the biosphere (and often more importantly where they are not) and why these patterns have emerged: a question which appears deceptively straightforward but is actually extremely complex. This module is concerned with geography of biodiversity and seeks to explain why particular plants and animals are located where they are throughout the world. We consider the processes of speciation, evolution, species dispersal and fragmentation of populations, ranging from plate tectonics to climatic gradients and the influence of humans. This module is useful preparation for students wishing to take NS6206 Palaeoecology.
This module addresses issues of population dynamics, landscape processes such as plate tectonics, dispersion, migration, and species translocation. We will be looking at past processes to try to explain current patterns of species distribution. Thus this course is about identifying the 'what' and then explaining the 'why'. Biographic patterns and processes are investigated at global, national and local scales, and in both terrestrial and aquatic environments.
A student passing this module should be able to:
1. Appreciate the variety of processes which can be responsible for species distributions at global, regional, landscape and island scales
2. Understand the relative importance of processes of speciation, extinction, dispersal, and ecological succession in explaining biogeographical patterns
3. Recognise the role of humans in modifying plant and animal distributions, with a specific understanding of the issues surrounding alien species introductions
4. Appreciate how knowledge from the past can inform future predictions of biogeographic change, while realising the limitations of this approach
5. Define a suitably-focussed research question to review individually and synthesise information from a range of sources including academic journals
A course map contains a list of the individual study units, called modules, that you study to complete your course. Some modules are compulsory, but you can sometimes choose modules outside your core area of study which interest you.
A module is a self-contained, individual unit of study. The module descriptor provides various details about the module including who the module tutor is, what you will be studying, how you will be assessed and what you will have learned once you have completed the module.
Course maps and module descriptors from previous years can be found in the Course Resources Archive.
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