Curriculum Guideline


Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 2230
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture 2 hrs. per week Lab 2 hrs. per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • Lecture
  • Labs
  • Field Work
  • Slides/Videos
  • Individual and/or Team Projects
  • Small Group Discussions
  • Map and Air Photo Analysis

Course Description
Have you wondered how so many different living organisms developed? Are you curious about what factors limit their growth and spread or about what human activity is affecting biodiversity? Biogeography examines the geographic distribution of plants and animals and the causes of these patterns. It focuses on the physical and biological factors that control community distribution and development from both an historical perspective and an ecological one. In this course we examine a variety of climatic, tectonic, soil, biological and anthropogenic controls on patterns of life. Several of the laboratory assignments include field work in the local area.
Course Content

  1. Introduction
    • Spatial concepts in Geography and Biogeography
    • The Science of Biogeography
    • Taxonomic, ecological and trophic hierarchies
  2. Organization of Life
    • Populations, communities, ecosystems and biomes
    • Vegetation structure and formations
    • Realms, regions and provinces
  3. The Physical Environment and the Distribution of Life
    • Patterns and influences of solar radiation, temperature, moisture and soil
    • Interacting physical controls on geographic distributions
  4. Biological Interactions and the Distribution of Life
    • Predation competition, symbiosis
    • Combined physical and biological controls on geographic distribution
    • Environmental gradients and Ssecies’ niches
  5. Temporal/Historical Influences on the Distribution of Life
    • Plate tectonics and continental drift
    • Past and future climate change
    • Dispersal, colonization and invasion
    • Evolution, speciation and extinction
  6. Description and Interpretation of Biogeographic Distributions
    • Geographic range
    • Mapping biogeographic distributions
    • Endemism, provincialism and disjunction
    • Models of Historical Biogeography
    • Reconstructing biogeographic histories
  7. Contemporary Patterns and Processes
    • Island Biogeography Theory and applications
    • Disturbance
    • Human impacts on the distribution of life
    • Biogeography and conservation planning

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Describe and use the frameworks of science applicable to 2nd-year physical geography.
  2. Think critically and examine biogeographical concepts at population, community, ecosystem and biome levels.
  3. Describe and explain the major biotic and abiotic influences on organism growth and distribution that occur within earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere systems, and identify and describe interactions among these systems.
  4. Communicate effectively using the language, graphical presentation methods and quantitative methods employed in physical geography.
  5. Connect theoretical applications to “real-world” observations and measurements.
Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of an evaluation scheme would be:

Labs  30%
Field Trip Report  10%
Project  20%
Midterm Exam  20%
Final Exam  20%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

Texts will be updated periodically. A typical example of a text would be:

  • MacDonald, Glen. (2003).  Biogeography: Introduction to Space, Time and Life. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.


GEOG 1110 (GEOG 1120 recommended but not required)