Last updated: 03/03/10


(Subject to Modification Depending on Time and Interests)


General Information

Enrolled students get course materials here


Instructor: Prof. A.D. Barnosky

GSI: Josh Carlson,

Time and Place:

Lecture - WF 10-11:30 a.m. 3007 VALLEY LSB

Discussion – M 2-3 or W 2-3 p.m.  3007 VALLEY LSB

Prerequisites: Bio 1B, Bio 11, Geog 148, or Geol 50.

Brief Description: 4 units. Three hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week. Explores how biogeographic processes influence evolution of species, communities, and ecosystems. Provides background and analytical techniques for studying effects of global change on biota.

More Details: The goals of the course are to (a) examine how geographically-linked characteristics of species influence their potential for evolution and extinction; and (b) provide an overview of the analytical techniques and applications for studying the interplay between geographic ranges, environment, evolution, and extinction. The course will begin by examining what geographic ranges of species are and what controls them (~5 hours of lecture). We then will explore how geographic-range characteristics influence and interact with speciation and extinction processes (~8 hours of lecture). With that foundation, we will examine interactions of species within communities, touching on such topics as community energetics, scaling issues, and the influences of humans on "natural" ecosystems (~11 hours of lecture). The last third of the course will be devoted to an overview of quantitative analytical techniques that commonly are used to study interactions between biogeogeographic ranges, evolutionary processes, extinction, and environmental change (~12 hours of lecture). Topics in this part of the course will include island biogeography, biodiversity, phylogenetics, phylogeography, cladistic biogeography, parsimony analysis of endemicity, geographic information systems, etc. The final week (~3 hours of lecture) will summarize how some of these analytical techniques can be applied to understand biotic response to global change.


1.        Lomolino, M. V., Riddle, B. R., and Brown, J. H. 2006. Biogeography, 3rd Edition. Sinaur.

2.        Lomolino, M. V., Sax, D. R. and Brown, J. H. 2004. Foundations of Biogeography-Classic Papers with Commentary. University of Chicago Press.

3.        plus 1-2 articles per week from the primary literature.

Grading: 1 midterm (20%), 1 final (30%), research paper written in a style acceptable for Journal of Biogeography (30%), participation in class and discussion section (20%).

Week 1 Jan 19-22: Concept of Geographic Range

Course Introduction Chapter 1, pp. 3-12

Chamberlin (1890).  Science 15(366):92-96

Overview of Geographic Range Concept Chapter 4, pp. 65-96

Week 2 Jan 25-29: Controls on Geographic Ranges

Physical Controls Chapter 3, pp. 39-64

Species Interactions

Discussion Reading

1.     Crisci (2001). J. Biogeog. 28: 157-68.

2.     Cleland (2001). Geology 29: 987-90

Week 3 Feb 1-5: Geographic Ranges and Speciation

Species Concepts Chapter 7, pp. 177-189

Gene Flow Chapter 15, pp. 567-584

Speciation Models Chapter 7, pp. 189-213

Discussion Reading

1.       Grinnell, J. 1922. The role of the accidental. Auk 39:373-80. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 456]

2.       Agapow, P.-M.; Bininda-Emonds, O. R. P., et al. (2004). The impact of species concept on biodiversity studies. Quarterly Review of Biology 79(2): 161-179.

Week 4 Feb 8-12: Geographic Ranges and Speciation

Dispersal Chapter 6, pp. 154-176

Vicariance Chapter 8, 248-268

Discussion Reading

1.       Hallam, A. 1967. The bearing of certain palaeozoogeographic data on continental drift. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 3:201-41.[In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 366]

2.       Rensch, B. 1960. Excerpt from Evolution Above the Species Level. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 789]

Week 5 Feb 15-19: Geographic Ranges and Extinction

Endemism / Provincialism Chapter 10, pp. 327-354

Extinctions in the Fossil Record Chapter 8, pp. 268-274, Chapter 9 312-323

Current Extinctions Chapter 16, pp. 657-678; Chapter 17, 715-728

Discussion Section: Q & A for your research papers / how to find research topics and resources {Monday group will do this for part of next Monday, in addition to assigned papers}

Week 6 Feb 22-26: Extinction


Thomas, C.D. et al. 2004.  Extinction risk from climate change.  Nature 427:145-148.

Carrasco, M. A. et al. 2009. Quantifying the extent of North American mammal extinction relative to the pre-anthropogenic baseline.  PLoS One 4(12):e8331

Discussion Reading

1.       Martin, P. S. The discovery of America. Science 179:969-974. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 641]

2.       Barnosky,A.D., et al. Assessing the causes of late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents. Science 306:70-75.

Week 7 Mar 1-5: Extinction and Community Evolution

Geography of Communities, Chapter 5, pp. 97-138

Scales of Community Change

Geological Time Scale Chapter 8, pp. 227-248

Quaternary Time Scale Chapter 9, pp. 276-311

Discussion Reading

1.       Decaens, T. 2010.  Macroecological patterns in soil communities.  Global Ecology and Biogeography DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2009.00517.x

2.        Marx, F. G. and M. D. Uhen. 2010.  Climate, critters, and cetaceans: Cenozoic drivers of the evolution of modern whales.  Science 327:993-996.

Week 8 Mar 8 -12: Community Evolution

Human Time Scale and Biodiversity Crisis Chapter 16, pp. 643-656

Physical Forcing of Community Evolution

Biotic Forcing of Community Evolution

Ecogeographic Rules Chapter 15, 585-598

Discussion Reading

1.       Jablonski, D. and J. Sepkoski, Jr. 1996.  Paleobiology, Community ecology, and scales of ecological pattern.  Ecology 77:1367-1378.

2.       Kohn, M. J. and T. J. Fremd. 2008. Miocene tectonics and climate forcing of biodiversity, western United States.  Geology 36:783-786.

Week 9 March 15 -19: Community Evolution, Human Impacts

MIDTERM: March 19

Origin and Spread of Humans Chapter 17, pg. 728-744

Conservation Biology, Global Change Chapter 16, pp. 678-708, Chapter 17, pp. 709-715

Discussion Section

1.       Review and information about paper writing

Week 10 March 22-26: Spring Break

Week 11 March 29-April 2: Evolution of Diversity

Island Biogeography Theory Chapter 13, pp. 469-512

Island Biogeography Chapter 14, 515-562

Diversity on Continents Chapter 15, pp. 599-639

Levels of Diversity

Discussion Reading

1.       Arrhenius, O. 1921. Species and area. Journal of Ecology 9:95-99. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 942]

2.       Pianka, E. R. Latitudinal gradients in species diversity: a review of concepts. The American Naturalist 100:33-46. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 1203.

3.       Plus 1 article from current literature TBA

Week 12 April 5-9: Measuring Diversity

Strengths and Weaknesses in Island Biogeographic Theory

Island Patterns

Sampling Problems in Space and Time

Discussion Reading

1.       MacArthur, R. H. and E. O. Wilson. 1963. An equilibrium theory of insular zoogeography. Evolution 17:373-387. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 970]

2.        Plus 1 article from current literature TBA

Week 13 April 12-16: Interpretation of Biogeographic Data

Fossils in Biogeography Chapter 11, 408-418

Early Efforts Chapter 2, 13-38; Chapter 12, 422-435

Discussion Reading

1.       Darwin, C. 1859. Excerpts from On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 140]

2.        Plus 1 article from current literature TBA

Week 14 April 19-23: Interpretation of Biogeographic Data

Phylogenetics Chapter 11, 389-403

Molecular Systematics

Discussion Reading

1.       Hennig, W. 1966. Excerpt from Phylogenetic Systematics. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 679]

2.        Plus 1 article from current literature TBA

Week 15 April 26-30: Interpretation of Biogeographic Data

Phylogeography Chapter 11, pp. 404-409; Chapter 12, pp. 450-453

Cladistic Biogeography, Parsimony Analysis of Endemicity Chapter 12, pp. 436-449, 454-466

Hubbells Neutral Theory

GIS, Remote Sensing

Discussion Reading

Applications for the Future Chapter 18, pp. 745-751

1.       Nelson, G. J. 1974.Historical biogeography: an alternative formalization. Systematic Zoology 555-558. [In Foundations of Biogeography, p. 705]

2.        Plus 1 article from current literature TBA

Week 16 May 3-7: Current and Future Applications  [REVIEW WEEK]