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ENVR 333: Biogeography
Taught in the Fall

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of plant and animals distributions, both past and present. This is a broad field overlapping several other disciplines, including biology, geography, and geology. The study of plant distributions will be emphasized and approached from historical, cultural and ecological perspectives. The goal is to foster student understanding of local, regional, and global biogeographic patterns and their underlying processes. Human impacts on biotic distributions will also be discussed. Applications of biogeographic knowledge and theory to conservation problems will also be discussed. The lab component will address quantitative aspects of biogeographic research through local examples. Prerequisites: Physical Geography (ERTH 112), Biology (110 or 140 or equivalent), or permission of instructor.


1) MacDonald, Glen. 2003. Biogeography: An Introduction to Space, Time and Life. John Wiley and Sons (available in the Willamette Bookstore)

2) Quammen, D. 1996. Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions. Simon and Schuster. (available in the Willamette Bookstore)

Course Requirements

There are four exams, three in-class exams and a final. The three in-class exams will cover course materials directly preceeding them. The final will be comprehensive.

The lab portion of the course will be devoted to investigating quantitative aspects of biogeographic patterns and processes. When possible we will use the local community as a lab.

On most Fridays we will break from lecture to review and discuss 1) assigned papers from the biogeographic literature, or 2) chapters from Song of the Dodo. To encourage a healthy, vibrant discussion each student will prepare a 500 word commentary on the assigned reading that includes any questions the student may wish to bring up in discussion.

Attendance is expected for all lectures, labs, guest presentations, and out of class activities. Students who are absent more than FOUR times during the semester without a valid excuse (legitimate medical condition or mandatory university activity) will be penalized 10% (100 points) from their total grade. I have final discretion on what is considered a legitimate absence.

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Last Updated 01/13/2011