BIOGEOSCIENCES 207: INTRODUCTION TO BIOGEOGRAPHY
Term I: Fall 2009
Dr. Lori Daniels, 143 Geography Bldg
Office Hours: Mon. and Wed. 10 –11am or by appointment: email@example.com
John "Nez" Nesbitt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To me, having the wind in your hair and being out-of-doors was the most important thing.
Far more messages enter your subconscious by being out in the field.
Dr. Jennifer Shay
Officer of the Order of Canada, 2001
The Introduction to Biogeography is an indoor-outdoor course that integrates theory with
practice. Class lectures and discussions will provide an overview of the structure and
function of terrestrial ecosystems, emphasizing plant ecology and biogeography. During
lecture, we will examine spatial and temporal patterns of species, population and community
distributions. Following an introduction to community and ecosystem attributes, we will
explore temporal change in these systems. Dynamic process, including succession,
disturbance, human impacts, and historic aspects of global change will be addressed. Biotic
(living) and abiotic (non-living) factors will be examined to explain contemporary patterns of
species distributions at local to global spatial scales. Weekly labs will emphasize field
research. The projects will complement the topics discussed in class and provide hands-on
experience studying the geography of ecosystems.
Core objectives for this class:
1. To define the terminology and concepts needed to understand the theory and principles
that underlie geographic investigations of ecosystems.
2. To prepare a solid theoretical foundation upon which advanced courses in biogeography,
terrestrial ecology, and field techniques may be based.
3. To gain practical field experience that is marketable to potential future employers.
4. To work cooperatively in groups for class activities and field research.
This is a challenging course. We cover a large amount of material in a short time. Past
experience has shown that trying to memorize it all doesn’t work. Instead, aim to
comprehend what is going on and feel free to ask questions.
PREREQUISITE: Geob 101 or Geob 102 and 103 or permission of instructor
LECTURES Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 to 11:00 am in Geog 147
Lab exercises, field work and field trips are a mandatory part of this course.
Each student must be registered in one of two lab sections:
L2A Wednesday 12-2pm in Geog 130
L2B Wednesday 2-4pm in Geog 130
RECOMMENDED TEXTBOOK (available in the bookstore):
Terrestrial Plant Ecology, 3rd edition (1999)
by M.G. Barbour, J.H. Burk, W.D. Pitts, F.S. Gilliam, and M.W. Schwartz
One copy of the textbook as well as additional references will be on reserve in the
Geographic Information Centre, Room 112 Geography Bldg.
Course Website: http://www.geog.ubc.ca/courses/geob207
The website will include copies of the course syllabus and information related to lecture, lab
assignments, field trips, required readings etc.
The course website will be updated regularly with lecture outlines and topics for in-class
discussions, due-date reminders etc. NOTE: These materials do not represent a complete
set of class notes - the outlines are meant to facilitate in-class activities, discussions and
You are welcome to contact me by email with questions or issues pertaining to the course
and to make appointments. I will post answers to general questions on the course website;
specific questions will be addressed on a one-on-one basis. During semester, allow at least
48 hours for your questions to be answered. Remember that email, like appointments and
meetings, is a formal form of communication.
Mid-term Exam Oct 22 35%
Final Exam TBA 40%
Lab reports Introduction and Study Area Oct 14 5%
Term Research Report Dec 3 20%
Exams will cover the material from the lectures, textbook readings, and lab exercises. The exams
will include short answer, diagram interpretations, and essay questions. The final exam will be
cumulative insofar as the topics discussed in the second half of the course are integrally linked to the
topics introduced in the first half of the course.
Field research will be conducted in groups but you will prepare individual reports. Although I
encourage teamwork in the lab and field, the reports you submit must be original and independent
work. Plagiarism and cheating are not tolerated. See the Faculty of Arts policy Plagiarism Avoided:
Taking Responsibility for Your Work (www.arts.ubc.ca/doa/plagarism.htm)
Late lab reports. Without proper documentation, a missed lab report will earn zero points and will
result in an incomplete standing in this course. Late reports will be penalized at the rate of 10% per
day, including weekends. Reports will be returned 7-10 days after each due date. Late reports will
not be accepted once graded reports have been returned to other students.
Missed exams. A secondary exam will be offered to students only under extenuating circumstances
and with proper documentation. To write a secondary midterm, you must contact me by 4pm on
Friday Oct 23. The secondary exam will be Monday Oct 26 and graded midterms will be returned to
the class on Thursday Oct 29. The final exam is scheduled by UBC. Students absent from the final
exam must request academic concession from the office of the Dean of Arts.
Policy for students representing UBC, BC or Canada at academic or sports events. I fully support
students involved with organizations and teams that travel during the semester; however, with this
privilege comes additional responsibility. In the event that you are travelling and unable to attend an
lab or exam, contact me before you depart.
Hints for student success:
- attend as many lectures as possible and participate in class activities
- use the outlines from the web when taking notes and be sure your notes are complete
- supplement your notes using your textbook and other assigned readings
- be sure to attend all labs and to submit lab reports on time
- work in teams, form study groups, ask questions in lecture, lab, and office hours
I vary my teaching methods to include many different modes of learning. But, if you are
having trouble with any aspect of the course, I am happy to meet with you so that we can
pursue alternative approaches.
BIOGEOSCIENCES 207: Course Schedule for Fall 2009
Date and topics for lectures and labs Textbook
Part A. Introduction to the Concepts and Methods
Sep 10 1. Introduction to course
15 2 a. Species: definition and taxonomy Ch. 3
16 Lab 1: Introduction to lab: LAB 1
Science and the Scientific Method (Ch. 1)
17 b. Variation within a species Ch. 3
22 c. Evolution and speciation Reading 1
23 Lab 2: Introduction to term research project LAB 2
(Introduction, Objectives, Study Area)
24 3 a. Populations: distribution and structure Ch. 4 and 9
29 b. Demography and temporal dynamics Ch. 4
30 Lab 3: Vegetation analysis using air photographs LAB 3
(Study Area - Vegetation and Maps)
Oct 1 c. Allocation and life history Ch. 5
Part B. Communities and Ecosystems: Contemporary and Historic Change
6 4 a. Community attributes Ch. 1 and 8
7 Lab 4: Methods of vegetation analysis in the field LAB 4
8 b. Community concepts: distribution in space Ch. 8
13 c. Succession: distribution in time Ch. 11
14 Report Introduction and Study Area Due LAB 5
Lab 5: Field work: Vegetation of Pacific Spirit Park (Ch. 9)
15 d. Successional mechanisms and trends Ch. 11
20 e. Disturbance and disturbance regimes Ch. 11 and 16
21 Lab 6: Data analysis: Vegetation of Pacific Spirit Park LAB 6
22 MIDTERM EXAM
27 5 a. Soils – Profiles and Properties Ch. 17
28 Lab 7: Field work: Soils of Pacific Spirit Park LAB 7
Optional: Vegetation Results Due
29 b. Soils – Nutrients and Soil Formation Ch. 13 and 17
Part C. Ecophysiology - Light, Temperature and Water
Nov 3 6 a. Light and temperature (Assigned review reading) Ch. 14
4 Lab 8: Lab analyses: Soils of Pacific Spirit Park LAB 8
5 Lab 9: Data analysis: Soils of Pacific Spirit Park (in lecture) LAB 9
10 b. Photosynthesis Ch. 15
11 Remembrance Day - No Lab
12 c. Plant hydrodynamics Ch. 18 and 19
17 d. Plant-water relations Ch. 19 and 19
18 Lab 10: Research Report LAB 10
Optional: Soil Results Due
Part D. Biodiversity and Biotic Interactions
19 7 a. Biodiversity Ch. 8
24 b. Biotic Interactions – Mutualism, Commensalism Ch. 7
26 c. Biotic Interactions – Herbivory, Predation, Parasitism Ch. 7
Dec 1 d. Biotic Interactions – Competition, Amensalism Ch. 6
3 Review for final
RESEARCH REPORT DUE
Dec FINAL EXAM – Date and Location TBA