lgeo1332  2021-2022  Louvain-la-Neuve

4.00 credits
30.0 h + 24.0 h

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
Knowledge of ecology is essential in understanding species distributions, and the first part of the course (A) teaches elementary ecology for those students who do not have this knowledge yet. The second part of the course (B) looks at both historical and ecological explanations for present-day distributions, and the practical work aims to illustrate the diversity in species composition in different biogeographical zones in Belgium.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 The aim is to learn what the historical and ecological reasons are behind the geographical distributions of living organisms and their communities, and the dynamic nature of these distributions.
Theoretical course (30 h, all students):
Historical biogeography (15 h, Caroline Nieberding)
Historical factors that influence present-day distributions: continental drift, climate change, mass extinctions; global distribution of diversity at higher taxonomic levels; phytogeographical kingdoms and zoogeographical provinces; centres of origin; vicariance; long-distance dispersal; ice ages; Quaternary phylogeography; glacial refugia; diversification.
Ecological biogeography (15 h, Renate Wesselingh)
Patterns of biodiversity: counting species, gradients of biodiversity, hotspots, diversity in time (succession, climax), richness and diversity.
Patterns of distribution: geographical range, methods to represent distribution ranges on maps, effects of scale, limits to distributions, overcoming the barriers, types of connections, relictual distributions, endemism, dispersal, invasions, migration, the ecological niche, niche overlap, fundamental and realized niche.
Communities and ecosystems: community richness, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta richness, diversity index, closed and open communities, plant growth forms, plant formations, biomes, zonal vegetations, arid regions, interzonal vegetations, predictive models.
Island biogeography : types of islands, arriving on an island, species-area relationships, surviving on an island, the Theory of Island Biogeography, evolution and speciation on islands, adaptive radiation, insularity syndromes.
The practical work (24 h = 3 field excursions to visit different biogeographical regions in Belgium) is for geography students and other non-biology students only. Biology students are advised to take the course Practical work in ecology and biogeography (LBIO1357) on the biogeography of Belgium.
Teaching methods
The theoretical parts consist of lectures. The practicals are field excursions of a full day each, at the end of the semester (on Fridays in week 10, 11 and 12).
Evaluation methods
Theoretical part: written exam with open questions, a separate series of questions for each teacher. The average of the two scores will be calculated to give the final score for the theoretical part. 
Practical work: each student should participate in at least one excursion and a single report should be written for all excursions where the student was present. The report should be handed in before a set date and it will be evaluated.
For the whole course, the final note is calculated as follows: 0.80 * theoretical part + 0.20 * practical report.
Partial dispensation can be obtained for successfully completed parts (10/20 or more) between exam sessions of the same academic year, after a written request by email and validation by return email from the course holders.
Other information
A basic knowledge of ecology (for instance LBIO1117) is required.
Online resources
Cox, C.B. & P. D. Moore (2005). Biogeography, an ecological and evolutionary approach (7th edition). Blackwell Publishing
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Master [120] in Geography : General

Master [120] in Geography : Climatology

Minor in Scientific Culture

Bachelor in Geography : General

Minor in Geography

Minor in Development and Environment