Università degli studi dell'Insubria

Biogeography

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL SCIENCES
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2018/2019
Year: 
2
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2019/2020
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Language: 
Italian
Credits: 
6
Period: 
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
48
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)
Requirements: 

Basic knowledge of Geography, of General Ecology is required for a profitable learning in the course. In particular, knowledge of zoology, specifically vertebrate zoology, will be important, aimed at taxonomic determinations and species biological characteristics that help to understand the various habitat-type interaction modes. It is also necessary to understand the English language to be used for reading extracts from publications, scientific texts, and manual.
There are no constraints on propedeuticity.

Final Examination: 
Orale

The objective of the final exam is to verify the level of achievement of the educational objectives, evaluating in the first place the possession of the basic cognitive elements and therefore the student's ability to use them autonomously for the resolution of real problems. The exam questions will be consistent with the types of topics and methods of study and analysis related to the topics covered. The exam consists of a final oral test. The student will be asked some questions (including at least one of your choice) concerning the teaching program and concerning both general concepts and specific problems or techniques.
The objective of the final exam is to verify the level of achievement of the educational objectives, evaluating in the first place the possession of the basic cognitive elements and therefore the student's ability to use them autonomously for the resolution of real problems. The final evaluation, expressed in thirtieths, will take into account the completed learning (30%), the ability to apply theoretical concepts to real cases (30%), autonomy of judgment (20%) and communication skills (20 %).
In-course tests will also be carried out based on the analysis, understanding and display of the contents of scientific articles concerning the course contents.

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

The course aims to provide the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to deal with the study of the biology of living organisms and to know how to use the knowledge and skills acquired in the context of his educational path. At the end of the course the student will have acquired the basic theoretical and practical knowledge related to the biology of living animals and plants, including problems related to their conservation and sustainable management.
The general objectives of the course are: I) to acquire the tools of critical evaluation to arrive at an adequate knowledge of the interactions between the biotic components II) acquire the tools of critical evaluation to arrive at an adequate knowledge of naturalistic-environmental and landscape problems in particular of the European area III) to synergistically apply the biological-naturalistic knowledge with the other disciplines IV) to strengthen one's own informative abilities by exploiting the acquired knowledge.
Knowledge about spatial distribution and spatial-temporal evolution of biodiversity will be provided, as well as the theoretical and methodological bases for biogegraphic analysis. In particular, the concepts of biological evolution in the space-time context, the concept of species and the principles of phylogenetic analysis will be addressed and analyzed with the aim of promoting a propensity to critical analysis in a multidisciplinary context. The specific objective is to reach a detailed knowledge of the biogeographic events that led to the current faunistic structure both in the Mediterranean and in the Italian fauna, with an outline also of human biogeography and the evolution of hominids.
The student will develop specific skills, including communication skills related to the exposition of the topics covered, the methods used and the results achieved, taking advantage of an appropriate language, ability to develop a critical approach to the subject and formulate an independent judgment on the main issues addressed , developing their own learning skills also through links between the topics covered. The course also aims to improve scientific communication skills through a deeper knowledge of scientific language and the ability to learn and individual judgment.

The theoretical and practical knowledge of the course will be acquired through the following program:
Biogeography of the Mediterranean Sea and origin of the Italian fauna
• The main wildlife groups and their history
• Italian fauna: distribution and peculiarities
• The main fauna groups, endemisms, distribution
Human biogeography, biogeography of the progenitors of the first hominids to the genus Homo (2 hours).
At least 6 hours will be devoted to reading and commenting on scientific articles and preparing specific public presentations of biogeographic topics already covered in the course.
The topics covered as well as to acquire the necessary knowledge for dealing with both basic and advanced topics related to the topics covered by the course, will also allow the development of the ability to apply the acquired knowledge to the problems related to the environmental context, and to acquire skills in terms of communication skills, capacity for critical approach and autonomous judgment related to the scientific issues treated.

Historical evolution, foundations and aims of conservation of biocenosis and biodiversity, techniques of analysis of the field and modern techniques of analysis and synthesis of biogeographic data (8 hours)

Background
• Predarwinian biogeography, Darwin and Wallace, current themes
• Historical origins, definition, field of investigation and purpose of biogeography
• History and role of biogeography in modern evolutionary biology
• Dispersion and vicariance comparison

Theoretical and methodological assumptions for biogeographic analysis
• The biological evolution in the space-time context, the concept of species and its definition
• Reproductive isolation, specimens models, phylogenetic analysis principles
• Foundations of geographical ecology; biotic communities and ecosystems. The ecological niche: definition, theoretical models

Distribution Area
• Range concept
• Analysis, definition and representation of the distribution range
• Dispersion, barriers, extinction
• Endemism, pandemic and cosmopolitan concepts
• Ecology of range

Historical biogeography, paleobiogeography, living organisms through geological eras and continental drift influences (14 hours).

Insular biogeography
• Insularity theory
• Turnover of species
• Islands and conservation of nature
• Characteristics of the island biota

Systematic biogeography
• The definition of biogeographical regions, corollary categories, general tracks
• Biogeographical regions: floristic and faunistic peculiarities

Elements of phytogeography
• Biogeographical regions, corollary categories, general tracks from the point of view of plant biology
• Phytogeography
• Distribution of the main floristic groups and their interpretation

Ecobiogeography and Animal Dispersion
• The nature of the barriers
• Active and passive dispersion models
• Communities, biomes, biosphere
• The phenomenon of extinction

Marine biogeography, animal distribution, distribution patterns of the main groups (invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and their interpretation (18 hours).

Biogeography of the Mediterranean Sea and origin of the Italian fauna
• The main faunistic groups and their history
• Italian fauna: distribution and peculiarities
• Main fauna groups, endemics, distribution

Human biogeography, biogeography of progenitors of the first hominids in the Homo genus (2 hours).

At least 6 hours will be dedicated to reading and commenting on scientific articles and preparing specific public presentations of biogeographic topics already discussed in the course.

Barry Cox C., Moore P.D., 2010. Biogeography : An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach. John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Pdf files of each lesson available on-line (Insubria e-learning web site).

Convenzionale

Front-end lessons with exemplifications. The purpose of the exemplifications is to develop the analytical capacity and understanding of specific competences acquired by evaluating the resolution of specific management and conservation issues.
Specific group work will also be organized with the aim of enhancing their dissemination skills by exploiting the acquired knowledge.

The teacher in charge is always available, subject to the arrangement of an appointment by e-mail.
At students request, the teacher will use the first part of a lecture to clarify or elaborate on previous lectures topics. It is also possible to ask for elucidations during the lectures.
The use of the e-learning platform (forums, glossaries) is highly recommended to share among students any requested issue.

Professors