Systematics of Neotropical Butterflies at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History

Courses taught at UF

Evolutionary Biogeography, Spring 2014

3 credits, PCB6675C, BOT6935, ZOO6927. Wednesdays and Fridays, 4th & 5th Period (10:40 am - 12:35 pm), Carr 221. Click here for the syllabus.

Course description
Biogeography is the study of geographic patterns in distribution, diversity and abundance, and is an exciting and rapidly evolving field, integrating systematics, ecology and evolution with geography, geology and climatology. The course will provide a broad introduction to topics and methods in both historical and ecological biogeography, and will teach students how to interpret biological datasets in a geographical context. The first half of the course considers the interactions between a dynamic Earth and evolving life, and examines the distribution of organisms and the role of geological processes in speciation. The second half of the course focuses on large-scale ecological patterns, including diversity gradients, island biogeography, and the relationship between range-size and abundance. The course will conclude by considering the implications and practical applications of ecological biogeography in biodiversity conservation.

Biogeography is a broad field and a multi-disciplinary approach is essential. There are thus no prerequisites other than a keen interest in ecology, evolution and diversity and willingness to participate actively in classes.

Topics include:
1. Historical development of the field of biogeography
2. Review of relevant Earth history
3. Review of principles of systematics, evolution and speciation
4. Biogeographic processes: vicariance, dispersal, endemism and extinction
5. Centers of origin and phylogenetic biogeography
6. Ancestral area reconstruction
7. Panbiogeography and cladistic biogeography
8. Brooks parsimony analysis
9. Parsimony analysis of endemicity
10. Event-based methods in historical biogeography
11. ML and Bayesian approaches in historical biogeography
12. Fossils and tree calibration
13. Measuring species richness
14. Global patterns of species richness, elevational and latitudinal gradients
15. Null models of species richness, spatial autocorrelation
16. Hypotheses for richness gradients: climate, energy, stability, speciation rate
17. Introduction to island biogeography: oceanic vs continental islands, characteristics of island faunas
18. Island biogeography: equilibrium theory, adaptive radiation
19. Species-area relationship
20. Rarity and its spatial variation
21. Relationships among range size, occupancy and abundance
22. Measures of biodiversity, phylogenetic diversity vs species diversity, indicators
23. Area prioritization for conservation
24. Predicting extinction from habitat loss, reserve design
25. 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 2012, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934. Spring 2012 syllabus
Spring 2010, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934. Spring 2010 syllabus


Spring 2008, 1 credit, ZOO 4926/6927. Spring 2008 syllabus

Insect Biogeography

Spring 2013, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934. Spring 2013 syllabus
Spring 2009, 1 credit, ENY 4905/6934. Spring 2009 syllabus
Spring 2007, 2 credits, ENY 4905/6934. Spring 2007 syllabus.