IB 439 / GEOG 439 / ESES 439 / NRES 439 / ANTH 439
Spring (alternate years)
Biogeography deals with spatial and temporal patterns of biological diversity and the factors that govern the distribution and abundance of taxa. This course will address two of its subfields: historical biogeography – the origin, dispersal, and extinction of taxa and biotas; and ecological biogeography – the role physical and biotic environments have played in determining taxonomic distributions. We will explore the ecological, evolutionary, climatological, and paleontological foundations for the distribution of species and biological communities. We will also review many of the field’s classical papers, the current synthesis of biogeographic theory, and the relevance of biogeography to modern conservation goals.
Environmental Biology (Online)
Introduction to ecological principles in relation to understanding environmental problems. Online lectures and discussion emphasize impacts upon ecosystems by human activities such as air and water pollution, usage of pesticides and pest control measures, expansion of agriculture in tropics and arid regions, harvesting the oceans, and development of energy sources.
Extinction: From Dinosaurs to Dodos
IB 106 / GEOL 106 / ESES 126
This course will examine the role of extinction in shaping the history of life on Earth. We will explore the big five extinction events &mdash including the two mass extinctions that mark the rise and fall of the dinosaurs &mdash and other periods of rapid ecological change. We will examine the causes of these mass extinctions of the past, and study how animal and plant life recovered from them. A major theme of the course will be the ongoing modern extinction crisis, and the lessons we can learn from the past when addressing modern biodiversity loss, from the loss of the dodo bird in the 17th century to the threat of extinction faced by polar bears and other plants and animals today.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for a Life Sciences course.