Università degli studi dell'Insubria

Biogeography

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL SCIENCES
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2013/2014
Year: 
2
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2014/2015
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Credits: 
6
Period: 
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
48
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (48 hours)
Requirements: 

Basic knowledge in Geography and Ecology, knowledge on Zoology, particularly on Vertebrate. Knowledge of English language is recommended.

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

Aims and learning outcomes
The course synthesises information on spatial patterns of biological diversity and its causes, both in the present and in the past and take in account scientific appoach from a very broad range of fields, including ecology, evolution, paleontology, and climatology. This course will provide information about biological evolution in a spatial an temporal context, species and distribution concept, phylogenetic analysis, evolution and geological periods, continental drift. Biogeography of Mediterranean basin Vertebrates, origin of Italian fauna. Human biogeography, from hominidae to genus Homo. We will also explore the relevance of biogeography during a time of increasing human impact.

Evaluation
Intermediate oral examination consisting in a short scientific seminar related to the course arguments. Questions will be based on the syllabus and the final score will be based on comprehension (25%), capacity to apply theoretical concepts to real cases (25%), autonomy of judgement (15%), communication skills (15%) and learning abilities (20%).
Final examination consisting in a oral examination will be based on the same criteria described for the intermediate oral examination.

Evolution, basic knowledge on conservation biology and on conservation of biodiversity
Hystorical approach
Biogeography pre-Darwin, Darwin and Wallace period, modern approach
Historical origins, definition, fields of study and purpose of the biogeography
History and role of biogeography in modern evolutionary biology
Dispersal and vicariance in comparison

Theoretical and methodological assumptions of the biogeographic analysis.
Biological evolution in the space-time context, the concept of species and its definition
Reproductive isolation, speciation models, principles of phylogenetic analysis
Fundamentals of geographic ecology; biotic communities and ecosystems. The ecological niche: definition, theoretical models

Area of distribution.
Concept of distribution range
Analysis, definition and representation of distribution range
Dispersal barriers, extinction
Concepts of endemism
Ecology and distribution range

Distribution range analysis techniques.
Modern techniques of analysis and synthesis of biogeographical data

Historical biogeography.
Palaeobiogeography, living organisms through geological eras and influences of continental drift.

Island biogeography
Island theory
Turnover of species
Islands and nature conservation
Features of the island biota

Biogeography taxonomy
The definition of biogeographical regions, categories chorologic, general tracks
The biogeographic regions: the peculiarities of flora and fauna

Elements of phytogeography.
Biogeographical regions, categories chorologic, general tracks from the point of view of plant biology
Phytogeography
Distribution of major floristic groups and their interpretation

Ecobiogeography and Animal Dispersion.
The nature of the barriers
Dispersion models of active and passive
Communities, biomes, biosphere
The phenomenon of extinction

Marine biogeography.
The biogeography of the Mediterranean Sea.

Animal distribution
Distribution patterns of the major groups (invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and their interpretation.

Origin of the Italian fauna
The main faunal groups and their history
The Italian fauna: distribution and characteristics
The main faunal groups, the endemic species, the distribution

Biogeography of hominids
Biogeography of the ancestors of the first hominids to the Homo genus.

Materials and texts
Zunino M. e A. Zullini, 2004. Biogeografia. La dimensione spaziale dell’evoluzione. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano.

Slides and additional self-study materials available on the e-learning platform.

Other references:
AA.VV., 2002. La Fauna in Italia. Touring Editore.
Cavalli-Sforza L.L., 1996. Geni, popoli e lingue. Adelphi Ed.
Cox C. B. e P .D. Moore, 2005. Biogeography. An ecological and evolutionary approach. Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Crosby A. W., 1986. Imperialismo ecologico. L’espansione biologica dell’Europa 900-1900. Ed. Laterza.
Hickman C.P., Roberts L.S., Larson A., 2003. Diversità Animale. McGraw-Hill.
Lehman, Shawn M., 2006. Primate biogeography: progress and prospects. Springer, New York.
Mac Arthur R.H. e Wilson E.O., 2001. The theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Merrick, John Rodney, 2006. Evolution and biogeography of Australasian vertebrates. Auscipub, Oatlands N.S.W.
Myers, A. A. e Giller, P. S. 1. 1988. Analytical biogeography. An integrated approach to the study of animal and plant distributions. London, Chapman & Hall.
Sax D.F., 2005. Species invasions: insights into ecology, evolution, and biogeography. Sinauer Associates, 495 pp.

Professors