BSc Geography and Geology / Course details
Year of entry: 2018
Course unit details:
Geography of Life
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This course probes the distribution, history, and conservation of life, and particularly of flowering plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. In doing so, it addresses big issues in biogeography, including debates over dispersal versus vicariance, the causes of the latitudinal diversity gradient, and the conservation of species.
To provide a detailed knowledge and deep understanding of three aspects of biogeography:
- how life interacts with its biotic and abiotic environments
- how humans alter these interactions
- critical questions about the exploitation and conservation of the living world.
By the end of the course unit, you should be able to:
- appreciate in depth the complex arguments about the current biodiversity crisis
- understand ideas about human impacts on animals, plants, and ecosystems
- comprehend the significance of species dispersal in the past and at present
- critically evaluate arguments about the causes and significance of local, regional and global extinctions
- understand the complex issues surrounding conservation.
Week 1 (30 January) Introducing biogeography
Week 2 (6 February) Dispersal and vicariance
Week 3 (13 February) Islands as biogeographical test-beds
Week 4 (20 February) Biodiversity 1: inventory and mapping
Week 5 (27 February) Biodiversity 2: species turnover
Week 6 Study Week
Week 7 (13 March) Biodiversity 3: climate change and habitat fragmentation
Week 8 (20 March) Biodiversity 4: invasive species and overexploitation
Week 9 Study Week
Week 10 (24 April) Species conservation; Guest Lecture; Manchester Museum visit 1
Week 11 (TBA) Ecosystem conservation; Manchester Museum visit 2
(5 May) Chester Zoo fieldtrip (provisional date)
Week 12 (8 May) Conclusion
Teaching and learning methods
The course unit will be delivered via:
· A guest lecture
· Trip to Chester Zoo, including lecture by zoo staff
· Visit to the Manchester Museum.
Sessions will draw upon a range of resources, including documentaries.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
During this course unit, you will be encouraged to develop the following abilities and skills:
- independence in coursework definition, research and execution
- information acquisition and handling skills involved in research for coursework
- reading, analysis, synthesis and writing skills for handling sophisticated material
- critical skills involved in understanding different theoretical positions
- critical thinking about certain environmental issues
- taking responsibility for active self-critical learning, including time management.
This course unit will be examined by a two-hour examination (60%) and a 3,000-word essay (40%).
Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:
· Verbal feedback on any aspect of the course with the tutor using consultation hours
· Verbal feedback through Q & A and discussion within lecture sessions
· Written comments on your course essay proposal via email
· Written feedback on your course essay via Blackboard.
Hosey, G., Melfi, V., and Pankhurst, S. (2013) Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management, and Welfare, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lomolino, M. V., Riddle, B. R., Whittaker, R. J., and Brown, J. H. (2010) Biogeography, 4th edn. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates.
MacDonald, G. (2016) Biogeography: Introduction to Space, Time and Life, 2nd edn. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Millington, A., Blumler, M., and Schickhoff, U. (eds) (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Biogeography. London: Sage.
Primack, R. B. (2012) A Primer of Conservation Biology, 5th edn. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates.
Sodhi, N. S. and Ehrlich, P. R. (eds) (2010) Conservation Biology for All. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Thompson, K. (2014) Where do Camels Belong? The Story and Science of Invasive Species. London: Profile Books.
Diversity and Distributions
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Journal of Biogeography
Progress in Physical Geography.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||2|
|Independent study hours|
|Richard Huggett||Unit coordinator|
Comprises of Lectures and Seminars.