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GEOG459 Biogeography

Approaches to vegetation analysis; past and present vegetation patterns; plant strategies for survival in stressful environments; anthropogenic vegetation.

Paper title Biogeography
Paper code GEOG459
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,282.09
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,357.07

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Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator: Dr Ralf Ohlemuller
Paper Structure
The main activity during this paper will be seminars and tutorials (2 hours per week). These will take three main forms:
  • Lecture-style presentations followed by discussions
  • Small-group reading and discussions followed by whole-class discussions
  • Workshop-style sessions to discuss practical research issues
Teaching Arrangements
This paper is 100% internally assessed. There are three main components to the internal assessment:
  1. Lecture (20%)

    Students are assigned to one of four groups. Each group will research and present a lecture on a given topic and provide a lecture handout on that topic. Marks will be given jointly (i.e. all students in a group will receive the same mark).

    • Lecture presentation (45min): 15%
    • Lecture handout (max 2 pg): 5%

  2. Essay (30%)

    Each student writes an essay (max. 3000 words) on the following topic relating to a biogeographical theme, problem or issue. The topic will be announced at the start of the paper.

  3. Research Project (50%)

    Each student conducts an individual research project on a research topic addressing a current biogeographical problem (to be announced at the start of the paper).

    • Research plan (max 2 pg): 5%
    • Research presentation (10 min): 10%
    • Project report (ca 4000 words): 35%
Throughout the paper, relevant reading from the primary literature will be pointed out to you, and you are also asked to perform your own literature searches and reviews. In addition, the following text books provide useful general information on many of the issues and topics discussed in this paper:

Cox, C.B. & Moore, P.D. (2008) Biogeography - An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK.

Ladle, R.J. & Whittaker, R.J. (2011) Conservation Biogeography. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. UK.

Lomolino, M.V., Riddle, B.R., Whittaker, R.J. & Brown, J.H. (2010) Biogeography. 4th edition. Sinauer, USA.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the paper you will have:
  • An advanced understanding of the main theories underlying biogeographical research
  • Gained insights into processes shaping biogeographical patterns at a range of spatial and temporal scales
  • Conducted biogeographical research on a topic relevant to conservation and environmental planning
  • Researched and communicated theoretical and applied aspects of ecology and biogeography relevant to a wide range of environmental stakeholders

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Friday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41