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BA Geography / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:

Unit code GEOG21771
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Biogeography looks to explain the patterns of life we see today. Through this module we will explore the role and significance of physical and biological controls on the distribution of life. We will also look at the ways in which plants and animals live together in communities, and more broadly in biomes, as well as the geography of biodiversity. We will explore the role of evolution and plate tectonics as drivers of change in the patterns of life. We will consider the importance of historical biogeography and the influence of humans as agents of change. Finally the link between biogeography and conservation will be explored. 


  • To understand the distribution of plants and animals we see today.
  • To explore the role and significance of plate tectonics and evolution as drivers of change
  • To consider the importance of climate changes in the past to understand the modern distribution of plants and animals
  • To understand how human actions have affected the biogeography of different species
  • To understand the significance of the link between biogeography and conservation


Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Describe and explain the role of physical and biological factors in the distribution of plants and animals
  • Demonstrate how evolution and plate tectonics have shaped the patterns of life we see today
  • Evaluate the significance of climatic changes to biogeography
  • Assess the role of humans as agents of extinction and evolution
  • Appraise the significance of biogeography in conservation biology


Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered via a series of 10 lectures, and two field visits, one to Lyme Park and one to Chester Zoo. The lectures will include time for interaction via class discussion, consolidation sessions and revision exercises. Students are expected to read widely to support the classes and undertake the support activities as instructed for each class. Learning will be supported via the course Blackboard site, which will provide access to course materials and wider resources on classic examples of biogeography from around the world.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 67%
Written assignment (inc essay) 33%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

  • verbal feedback through discussion and Q&A during and at the end of lectures
  • extensive verbal feedback on any course unit issue through consultation hours or by appointment
  • detailed, constructive written feedback on coursework
  • detailed, constructive written feedback on exam in Academic Advisor meetings


Recommended reading

The core text for the course is:


  • Cox, C.B., Moore, P.D. and Ladle, R., 2016. Biogeography: an ecological and evolutionary approach. John Wiley & Sons


Multiple copies of this are available in the Main Library and the Kantorowich Library (578.09 COX). This is also available as an electronic book through the Library website. 


There are other Biogeography textbooks available:


  • Huggett, R.J., 2004. Fundamentals of biogeography. Routledge.
  • Lomolino, M.V., Riddle, B.R., Brown, J.H. and Brown, J.H., 2006. Biogeography (No. QH84 L65 2006). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.
  • Millington, A., Blumler, M. and Schickhoff, U. eds., 2011. The SAGE handbook of biogeography. Sage.



Students will be expected to read articles from the primary research literature, including journals such as:


  • Biological Conservation
  • Global Ecology and Biogeography
  • Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Journal of Biogeography
  • Journal of Ecology
  • Nature
  • Oecologia
  • Science
  • Trends in Ecology and Evolution



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 197

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Peter Ryan Unit coordinator

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