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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
November 24, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence


Beach near Le Mont-St.-Michel

BI301 Global Ecology and Biogeography



This course is about the big picture – that is, the evolutionary play, on the ecological stage, in theatre: Planet Earth. We will cover concepts and examples from the related disciplines of biology and geography to build an understanding of the development and application of biogeographical theories. Our goal is to describe, explain, and predict historical and current patterns in the distribution of plants and animals and their associated ecosystems. Some of the questions we will address include:

•   why do some parts of the world have such distinctive assemblages of plants and animals?

•   why are some species widespread throughout the world, yet others have very restricted ranges?

•   why are there many more species in tropical rainforests compared to forests in other regions?

•   why are animals in some habitats larger in size than their close relatives in other regions?

•   why are islands special?

Link to the 2012/2013 Calendar Course Description.


Required Textbook:

Cox, C.B. and P.D. Moore. 2010. Biogeography: an ecological and evolutionary approach. 8th edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. ISBN: 978-0-470-63794-4

Other Recommended Resources:

Ecology: Concepts & Applications, Canadian Edition. 2008. M.C. Molles, Jr. and J.F. Cahill, Jr.  McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.   ISBN-13: 978-0-07-096341-2 [This is the textbook used in Fall 2008 for BI205 Introduction to Ecology; it will be used this year for BI405 Community Ecology and BI309 Population Ecology. It is a good basic ecology textbook, with manye examples from studies conducted by Canadian scientists. There are many other good introductory textbooks – one I particularly like is Essentials of Ecology by C.R. Townsend, M. Begon and J. L. Harper.]

Course notes will be available through the 'mylearningspace' course page. I strongly suggest that you make your own notes during the lectures to complement the course notes.


Links to on-line field guides and other useful sites:

1.  WLU Ecology Field Guides 

2.  Iowa State University BugGuide

3.  USDA Plant Database 

4.  OMAFRA Guide to Ontario Weeds 

5.  Trees and Shrubs of Ontario

6.  Integrated Taxonomic Information System

7.  Global Biodiversity Information Facility

8.  International Long Term Ecological Research Network Site