University of Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name


  • Host University

    University of Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Students may not take this course if enrolled in TI230, TI229, or TI254

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Description

    This class provides an introduction to the study of biogeography. Bridging the fields of biology and geography, biogeography is the study of the distribution of plants and animals across the Earth. In this course, we will be concerned with identifying how historical, physical, and biological factors affect present and past distributions of individuals, species, communities, ecosystems, and biomes. The actions of humans are a critical force impacting other species, and the human influence on past, present and future species distributions is a central topic in this module.

    Aims and Objectives

    In addition to offering a survey of the basics of biogeography via class lectures, this course also aims to introduce students to various methodologies used in biogeographic research. Hands-on field, lab, and data analysis exercises will allow students to put learned concepts into practice and give students experience working with the techniques used by biogeographers.

    Learning Outcomes

    * Comprehension of the basic principles of biogeography as a discipline
    * A developed capacity to apply the field methodologies and data analysis techniques used in biogeography
    * Critical understanding of human impacts on species distributions and modern conservation strategies

    Method of Assessment

    60% - Final examination (2 hour)

    40% - Four practical exercises. Students will apply a field, laboratory and/or data analysis technique and write a short (500-700 words plus figures) lab report for each exercise.

    Class Readings

    Main Texts (on 3-hour reserve):

    Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Aproach, 7th edition. 2005. C.B. Cox and P.D. Moore. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, 440 pp.

    Supplementary Readings:

    R1. Jeffrey, D.W. 2003. Grasslands and heath: A review and hypothesis to explain the distribution of Burren plant communities. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 103B: 111-123.

    R2. Mills, L.S., M.E. Soule, and D.F. Doak. 1993. The keystone-species concept in ecology and conservation. Bioscience 43: 219-224.

    R3. Hoekstra, J.M., T.M. Boucher, T.H. Ricketts, and C. Roberts. 2005. Confronting a biome crisis: Global disparities of habitat loss and protection. Ecology Letters 8: 23-29.

    R4. Myers, N., R.A. Mittermeier, C.G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. da Fonseca, and J. Kent. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403: 853-858.

    R5. Minchin, D., C. Maguire, and R. Rosell. 2003. The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha Pallas) invades Ireland: Human mediated vectors and the potential for rapid intranational dispersal. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 103B: 23-30.

    R6. Diaz, R.J. and R. Rosenburg. 2008. Spreading dead zones and consequences for marine ecosystems. Science 321: 926-929.

    R7. Behrensmeyer, A.K. 2006. Climate change and human evolution. Science 311: 476-478.

    R8. Margules, C.R. and R.L. Pressey. 2000. Systematic conservation planning. Nature 405: 243-253.

    R9. Tubridy, M. and G. O Riain. 2002. Preliminary Study of the Needs Associated With a National Ecological Network. Synthesis Report, Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford, Ireland, 8pp.

    R10. Pennisi, E. 2004. Ice ages may explain ancient bison?s boom-bust history. Science 306: 1454.

    R11. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2007. Group II Report: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Summary for Policymakers: 16 pp.

    Other useful texts in library:

    Environmental Biogeography. 2005. Ganderton, P. and P. Coker. Prentice Hall, Harlow, England, 283 pp.

    An Introduction to Applied Biogeography. 1999. I.F. Spellerberg. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 243 pp.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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