Biogeography aims to explain distributions of organisms through historical and ecological factors. This course will focus on the history of biogeographic research, developments in the area of historical biogeography, and on ecological processes that affect distributions of whole clades. Topics include plate tectonics and earth history, vicariance and dispersal, areas of endemism, phylogenetic niche conservatism, latitudinal gradients in species richness, and the theory of island biogeography. Software for biogeographical analysis will be discussed and evaluated.
An integrated approach to the diversity of life, emphasizing how chemical, physical, genetic, ecological and geologic processes contribute to the origin and maintenance of biological diversity. Topics to be covered include the evolution of metabolic pathways, multicellularity and structural complexity; causes and consequences of differences in diversity over space and time; the role of species interactions (including symbioses) as an evolutionary force; and the evolution of humans and their impact on the environment.