GGP370 Biogeography

for SP 2009

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


GGP 370 Biogeography


SP 2009 HO


Hoffman, Brian L.


Professor of Biology


BA - Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics - Park College - 1986
PhD - Cell and Molecular Biology - St. Louis University - 1996

Office Location



Class Days


Class Time

11:35 - 12:50 PM

Credit Hours


Mark V. Lomolino, Brett R. Riddle, James H. Brown.  Biogeography, 3rd ed. 2006.  Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA. ISBN 0-87893-062-0

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Course Description:
GGP370 Biogeography: The purpose of this course is to study the distribution of plants and animals across the Earths surface. This Physical Geography course will expand upon principles Ecology and Biology, and will focus on understanding ecosystem processes that impact both fauna and flora. Topics will include the study of communities, ecosystems, biomes, biodiversity and island biogeography. 3:0:3.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe and identify how geographical and historical factors have shaped animal and plant distributions around the world.
  2. Analyze the various theories of biogeography.
  3. Describe and identify the characteristics and function of the World's major biomes.
  4. Develop an awareness of the humans influence on ecosystems and how it impacts the global community of fauna and flora.

Core Assessment:

The core assessment for GG 370: Biogeography is an accumulation of four separate writing assignments. These assignments must total at least ten pages in length and incorporate at least 10 different references.

Focused Writing 1:  Describe the biogeography of Parkville, Missouri 300 million before the present. (CLO 1)

The instructor may choose to pick another geographic  location. The student must describe the biogeography of the specified area at a key point in time identified by the instructor.


Focused Writing 2:  Describe the biogeography of Northern Nebraska in the area of Ashfall State Park about 10 million years ago.  Compare this with what you consider to be the most similar environment on earth in modern times. (CLO 1, 3)

The instructor may choose to pick another geographic  location. The student must make connection between biogeography of the past and the most similar environment on earth today.


Focused Writing 3:  One of the major geographic  features of the Missouri River Valley is the Loess (pronounced "luss") Hills.  Describe the events that generated these hills and shaped the current Missouri River drainage.  How was the current biota of Missouri shaped by these events.  Where on Earth are the loess deposits deeper and more extensive? (CLO 1, 3)

The instructor may choose to pick another geographic feature of their particular location. The student must make connection between the geographic events that shaped the location and how the biota of the area was shaped by those particular events.


Final Project

1.  Draw a map that shows the range of one species during a) the Pleistocene and b) the Holocene.

Some Resources:

Bog Turtle

Gibbon or Orangutan:

California Condor:

What factors led to the modern distribution of this species compared to its Pleistocene distribution? (CLO 1, 2, 3, 4)

2.  Africanized honeybees are also known as “Killer Bees”.  These Africanized honeybees are present in the United States (more information at The site contains a mapmaking tool which is a crude GIS (geographic information system).  Use the Map Maker Utility to make 3 maps with keys of changes in the range of these exotics in the US (look under the Biology layer, in the invasive species section). Make one map for 1990, one for 2003 and one map for a year in between.  How is the range of the Africanized honeybee changing in the US?  What factors account for this pattern of spread? (CLO 1)

3. ;

Draw a county map of the distribution of one species in one state of the United States.  Draw a map that shows the world distribution of the species.

4.  Briefly describe the evidence for continental drift. (CLO 1, 2)

5.  Pick one major desert from three different continents. What factors contribute to the formation of these particular deserts. Briefly describe the physical properties of the deserts, and key flora and fauna that live in the deserts. (CLO 1, 2, 3)

6.  Describe the interactions that maintain the structure of one of the major terrestrial biomes. Describe at least one human impact on this biome. (CLO 1, 3, 4)

7.  Analyze the biogeographic concepts illustrated by the development of Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Islands or the Hawaiian honeycreeper on the Hawaiian Islands. (CLO 2)






Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:
Student progress in this course will be assessed by 3 examinations, focused writing and mapping assignments, a biodiversity project and unscheduled quizzes.


Focused Writing and Mapping Assignments  4 @ 50pts each - 200pts
Written Reviews                                              3 @ 100 pts each - 300 pts
Biodiversity Project                                         1 @ 100 pts - 100 pts
Unscheduled Quizzes

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late homework will be reduced in credit by 25% for each day or part of day that the work is late. Students missing class due to participation in athletic or other school-sponsored events must turn in all homework PRIOR to their absence. Exceptions: students who miss class due to an extended illness requiring hospitalization will be allowed to make up missed homework assignments. Other cases may be considered at the discretion of the instructor.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

A. Cellular Phones, Beepers, Other Communications Devices

While in class, the class should be your primary focus. Disruption of class due to communications devices has become so prevalent that they are a major distraction in class (to you, to the instructor and to other students). For this reason such devices must not be brought to class or must be inactivated during class (lecture and laboratory).

B. Student Alcohol or Drug Use

Because the classroom is a professional environment students who are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be removed from class. This also meets our legal obligation to provide a drug- and alcohol-free workplace. Such instances will be reported to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs. Students will not be admitted back into class unless such arrangements are made through the V.P. for Academic Affairs.

C. Student Work, Appointments...Etc.

The student who has signed up for the course has made an obligation to participate in those activities scheduled during regular class times. The student must not make other obligations during this time, or that student alone will be responsible for the consequences. The consequences may include reduced or no credit for that portion of the class and inability to make-up the missed work.

D. Withdrawals

The enrollment status of the student in this course is solely the responsibility of the student. If you wish to change your status in this course, be sure that you file the appropriate paperwork with the registrar before the appropriate deadlines. If you wish to drop, do not just stop coming to class!!! Two weeks of consecutive absences will result in your removal from the class. If you do not file withdrawal papers with the Registrar, you will receive an F in this course.

E. Extra Credit

It is your responsibility to get work done on time in an acceptable form. For this reason, no extra credit will be extended during the course of the semester.

F. Technology Issues

Computers make writing and revising much easier and more productive.  Students must recognize though that technology can also cause problems.  Printers run out of ink and hard drive crash.  Students must be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines in spite of technology.  Be sure to save copies of your work to disk, hard drive, and print out paper copies for backup purposes.

G. Make-Up Examinations

The student will be given the opportunity to make-up one examination during the course of the semester, provided that an adequate excuse is provided to the instructor within 24 hours of the missed examination. The instructor will be the final judge of what constitutes an adequate excuse. The makeup examination will be administered on Friday of finals week at 8:00 AM and will be a cumulative final.

If you miss two exams, one will be scored as a zero and included in your examination average. Missing three examinations will result in a grade of "F" for the course. Four lecture examinations are scheduled for this semester. Your examination average will be calculated from all four test scores. If you feel that one test score is not representative of your effort, you may opt to take the make-up examination.  Failure to sit for the final examination will result in a grade of "F" for the course.

athletes involved in sports contests or students participating in other school-sponsored events will be allowed to take the examination prior to the scheduled date. The instructor must be given prior notice of such an event.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

List of Topics
Week 1 - History of Biogeography - Chapter 1&2
Week 2 - Physical Geography - Chapter 3
Week 3 - Distributions of Species - Chapter 4
Week 4- Geography of Communities - Chapter 5
Week 5 - Dispersal and Immigration - Chapter 6
Week 6 - Speciation and Extinction - Chapter 7
Week 7 - Changing Earth - Chapter 8
Week 8 - Glaciation and the Pleistocene - Chapter 9
Week 9 - Spring Break
Week 10 - Geography of Diversification - Chapter 10
Week 11 - Island Biogeography I - Chapter 13
Week 12 - Island Biogeography II - Chapter 14
Week 13 - Areogeography etc... - Chapter 15
Week 14 - Biodiversity and Extinction - Chapter 16
Week 15 - Conservation Biogeography - Chapter 17
Week 16 - Biogeography of Humanity - Chapter 17
Week 17 - Finals
1 - February 12 - Chapter 1-5
2 - March 26 - Chapter 6-10
3 - May 7 - The rest of it
Paper 1 - February 8
Paper 2 - March 7
Paper 3 - April 5
Final Project - April 26
Biodiversity Project - May 1

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
Attendance at all class meetings is mandatory. Part of the education of college is preparation for professional conduct. Attendance at work or graduate or professional school is mandatory for remaining employed or in school. Get in the habit of being here all of the time now. Education is also a cooperative effort. You are as responsible for furthering the education of your fellow classmates and the instructor as the instructor is for yours.

It is recognized that personal emergencies will arise during the course of the semester. Three absences (for any reason: illness, personal appointments, doctors appointments car problems...etc.) are allowed without penalty. After 3 absences, 5% will be deducted from the students grade for each subsequent absence. Eight absences is considered excessive, and the student missing eight classes will fail the course. Students who miss class will be responsible for the assignments made and material covered in that class period. Students who enter class after roll is taken will be counted tardy. Two tardies count as an absence. Students who are 15 minutes late (by my watch) will be counted absent.

Exceptions: Athletes who miss class for an athletic contest or students who miss class due to other school sponsored events will not be penalized IF AND ONLY IF THE INSTRUCTOR IS GIVEN TWO LECTURE MEETINGS PRIOR NOTICE AND WORK IS TURNED IN AND EXAMS TAKEN BEFORE THE CLASS IS MISSED!!!!!!!!!! If you have an illness that requires extended hospitalization, have someone contact me!

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Uses 10 or more sources Uses 9 to 8 sources Uses 7 to 6 sources Uses fewer than 6 sources 
1, 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Identifies and analyzes all of  the items in the assignment Identifies and analyzes 8 to 7 of the items in the assignment Identifies and analyzes 6 to 5 of the items in the assignment Identifies and analyzes fewer than 5 of the items in the assignment 
1, 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Assesses the outcomes of all of the assignment items Assesses the outcomes of 8 to 7 of the assignment items Assesses the outcomes of 6 to 5 of the assignment items Assesses the outcomes of  fewer than 5 of the assignment items 
No factual errors 1 to 2 factual errors 3 to 4 factual errors 5 or more factual errors 
1, 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Demonstrates mastery of all of the assignment items Demonstrates mastery of 8 to 7 of the assignment items Demonstrates mastery of 6 to 5 of the assignment items Demonstrates mastery of fewer than 5 of the assignment items 
Effectively incorporates 10 or more sources to support theses Effectively incorporates 9 to 8 sources to support theses Effectively incorporates 7 to 6 sources to support theses Effectively incorporates fewer than 6 sources to support theses 
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
No errors in writing conventions 1 to 3 errors in writing conventions 4 to 6 errors in writing conventions 7 or more errors in writing conventions 
Contains no errors in the following paper format items: -Length  -Page numbers  -Works cited  -Internal documentation Contains only 1 error in the following paper format items:  -Length  -Page numbers  -Works cited  -Internal documentation Contains 2 to 3 errors in the following paper format items: -Length  -Page numbers  -Works cited  -Internal documentation

Contains 4 or more errors in the following paper format items:  -Length  -Page numbers  -Works cited  -Internal documentation 
1, 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Exhibits an awareness and concern for contemporary items Exhibits an awareness or concern for contemporary items Exhibits some awareness and concern for contemporary items
Exhibits no awareness or concern for contemporary items 


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Last Updated:1/5/2009 1:08:30 PM