Are tropical frogs going extinct? Why don't we see wild elephants in the US? Why are invasive species a problem to the environment? Why are the tropics biologically diverse? These are some of the issues will address in this course as students learn the basics of the distribution of biodiversity across the planet.
Biogeography is the science that documents and explains spatial patterns of biological diversity. Biogeography studies the relationships between living organisms (animals, plants and microbes) and their environment (climate, geology, soils), emphasizing the spatial and temporal patterns in their distributions over the face of the Earth.
To understand global ecosystems and biodiversity distribution requires an interdisciplinary approach linking concepts from ecology, evolutionary biology, geology, and physical geography and employing methodologies from geography such as geographic information systems and remote sensing. In this course, therefore, students will be introduced to theories and data from those disciplines. Additionally students should have the ability to map the distribution and describe the nature of earth's major terrestrial biomes (e.g. Tropical rain forests, boreal forests, tundra, deserts).