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GEOG459 Biogeography

Semester Two, 20 points

Lectures: Friday: 10am – 11.50am

Course Lecturer: Dr Ralf Ohlemüller –  

Biogeography is the science that investigates the geography of life. The spatial patterns of living organisms in the physical environment we observe today are a snapshot of continuously changing species distributions. Individuals, populations, species, communities and ecosystems respond to changes in the abiotic and biotic environment at varying levels of complexity. Insights into how these responses happen at different spatial and temporal scales helps to understand the distribution of life on Earth. This in turn helps to plan for the protection of the biota under changing environmental conditions.

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.

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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 Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,409.28
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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This paper is available to students at or above the 400 (i.e. graduate) level.

Please contact Dr Ralf Ohlemuller for information about the recommended background for this paper.

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Ralf Ohlemüller

Paper Structure

The main activity during this paper will be seminars and tutorials (two 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 issue

This paper is 100% internally assessed.

Teaching Arrangements

One 2-hour lecture per week.

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

Students who successfully complete this paper 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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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system