Biology 413: Zoogeography

Bering Land Bridge between North America and Asia (top left, shaded areas) and land bridges in southeast Asia (bottom left, shaded areas) during Pleistocene glaciations. Such bridges connected land masses that are now isolated by seawater and can often explain the dispersal of animals, for which seawater is normally a migration barrier, between continents or between continents and oceanic islands. Wallace's Line represents a distinct faunal separation between the landmasses of mainland Asia and Australia.

This course will review our current understanding of the patterns of animal distribution and the processes that influence distributions of species and their attributes. Zoogeography will integrate information on the historical and current ecology, genetics, and physiology of organisms and their interaction with environmental processes (continental drift, climate) that influence geographic distributions. The course will emphasize descriptive and analytical approaches useful in hypothesis testing in zoogeography and will illustrate applied aspects of zoogeography (e.g. refuge design in conservation).

"There’s nothing more romantic than biogeography" (E.O. Wilson in Song of the Dodo by D. Quammen)

"The modern naturalist will never rest satisfied as long as the native country, the geographical distribution, and the amount of variation of any living thing remains imperfectly known." (A.R. Wallace, 1863)

"I have lately been especially attending to Geographic Distributions, and a most splendid sport it is, a game of chess with the World for a Board" (C. Darwin, 1856)

Lecture Outline: each topic (other than the first two) will occupy approximately one week of lectures.

1. A. Introduction to Zoogeography:

..........Green turtles on Ascension Island: vicariance or dispersal?

1. B. History of Zoogeography:

...........I: Pre-history to Darwin. Major players in early zoogeographic thought, where does zoogeography come from and what is its relationship to other sciences?

..........II: Wallace and beyond: books, rules, the evolutionary synthesis, continental drift, and technology

2. Distributions of single species:

..........I. The geographic range, types and comparative analysis of distributions

......... II. What limits a species' distribution?

3. Distributions of communities:

.........I. Assemblages of species, spatial and temporal variation;

........II. Distributions of communities: The biome concept, biome types, comparative biome analyses

4. Patterns in species' distributions

........I. Endemism, provincialism

......II. Measures of faunal similarity and disjunction

5. Regional variation in species diversity: patterns and processes

.......I. Species richness indices, latitudinal and other gradients in diversity

......II. What drives diversity gradients?

6. The physical setting. I: Climate and climate change

.......I. Climate, winds, and ocean currents and their relevance to animal distributions

.....II. Climate change and species distributions

.....III. Oceanography and species distributions - 1

.....IV. Oceanography and species distributions - 2

.....V. The Mediterranean: Past and Present

7. The physical setting. II: Tectonics and Continental Drift (A.G. Lewis and E. Taylor)

(i) The basics of continental drift and plate tectonics

(ii) Zoogeographic consequences of continental drift

8. The physical setting. III:The Big Chill: Glaciation

.....i. Glaciation: causes and extent of glaciations (E. Taylor)

.....ii. Zoogeographic consequences of glaciation

.....iii. Evolutionary consequences of glaciation

9. Analytical biogeography I:

.....(i) Croizat and panbiogeography, vicariance "vs." dispersal

.....(ii) Phylogenetics and historical zoogeography and phylogeography

10. Analytical biogeography II:

.....(i) Zoogeography of Islands, species diversity-area, species diversity-isolation

.....(ii) Equilibrium Theory of Island Biogeography (ETIB) and tests of ETIB

11. Speciation:

.....I. What is a species/ What is speciation?

.....II. How do species arise and how zoogeography contributes to providing answers?

12. Zoogeography of Humans:

.....Origin of modern humans and global dispersal ("Out of Africa"?); dispersal to North America, colonization of Pacific Islands.

13. Applied zoogeography and conservation

.....I. How can zoogeographic principles and methods contribute to important societal issues?

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