Courses taught at UF
Insect Biogeography, Spring 2013
1 credit, ENY 4905 (section 1H60)/ENY 6934 (section 088G). Graduate or advanced undergraduate. Thursdays periods 2-3 (09:00-10:25am), room EYN 3118 (Entomology and Nematology Building). Click here for the syllabus.
This seminar course will examine how research on insects has contributed to our understanding of the distribution of life on Earth.
Biogeography is a broad field and a multi-disciplinary approach is essential. There are thus no prerequisites other than a keen interest in and at least some background knowledge of ecology, evolution and biodiversity, and willingness to participate actively in classes.
Insects dominate biological diversity, yet large-scale patterns in their distribution, diversity and abundance, and the processes responsible for such patterns, remain poorly understood. Biogeography is the study of such patterns and processes and is an exciting and rapidly evolving field, integrating systematics, ecology and evolution with geography, geology and climatology. This seminar course will provide an overview of major themes in biogeography, including historical biogeography and evolution, latitudinal and elevational gradients in species richness, patterns of abundance and range-size (macroecology), island biogeography and species-area relationships, and applications of biogeography to conservation. We will address a range of questions, such as: is dispersal or range fragmentation (vicariance) more important in explaining insect distribution and speciation? What factors underlie regional variation in insect species diversity? Why are some species widespread or common, while others are narrowly endemic or rare? What controls which species colonize and persist on islands? How should protected areas be sited and designed to most efficiently conserve insect faunas? Classes will consist of a combination of lectures, discussions of primary scientific literature and student seminars, during which we will explore how studies of insects have improved or could inform our understanding of biogeography in general.
1. Historical development of the fields of biogeography and macroecology
2. Areas of endemism
3. Historical area relationships
4. Molecular clocks
5. Spatial autocorrelation
6. Geometric constraints, a null model for species richness
7. Spatial patterns in species richness, the role of history
8. Spatial patterns in species richness, the role of environment
9. Abundance, range size and range position
10. Island biogeography
11. Area and species diversity
12. Predicting extinction from ecological traits and habitat loss
13. Prioritization of areas for conservation
14. Climate change
Evolutionary Biogeography (co-taught with Nico Cellinese)
Spring 2011, 3 credits, BOT 6935/6554. Spring 2011 syllabus
Biology of Lepidoptera (co-taught with andrei Sourakov)
Spring 2008, 1 credit, ZOO 4926/6927. Spring 2008 syllabus