BSC 4303 - Biogeography

Biogeography (BSC 4303, Class #20291)
Spring 2013 - Florida International University
Mondays 2:00 – 4:45 PM. Room number:  Rafael Diaz-Balart 1100

Instructor: Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega (ortegaj@fiu.edu)
Phone: (305) 348 2080 (FIU); 305 665 2844 x 3423 (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden)
OE 242 - Office Hours (Thursdays 10:00 AM - Noon)



Course updates with announcements and information of text-book pages that will be tested in each exam

are found at the end of this syllabus.


 EXAM SCORES

Click here for scores of Exams 1, 2, 3, and 4



Course web-page:

 http://www.fairchildgarden.org/aboutfairchild/staffbios/Javier-Francisco-Ortega-PhD2/BSC-4303---Biogeography/

Instructor web-page:

http://www.fairchildgarden.org/aboutfairchild/staffbios/Javier-Francisco-Ortega-PhD2/

 

 


 

TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE [Book Chapters are indicated inside brackets]

January 7. The Science of Biogeography; The History of Biogeography. [1, 2]

January 14. The Geographic Template; The Distribution of Species. [3, 4]

January 21. Holiday

January 28. Distribution of Communities; Dispersal and Immigration. [5, 6]; Exam Review

February 4Exam 1

February 11. Speciation and Extinction; The Changing Earth. [7, 8]

February 16. Saturday. Optional visit to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. New Butterfly exhibits. 9:30 AM at the Visitor Center Gate (North Entrance).

February 18. Glaciation and Biogeography Dynamics of the Pleistocene. [9]

February 25. The Geography of Diversification. [10]; Exam Review

March 4. Exam 2

March 11. Spring break

March 18. Reconstructing the History of Lineages; Reconstructing the History of Biotas. [11, 12]

March 25. Island Biogeography: Patterns in Species Richness. [13]; Exam Review

April 1. Exam 3

April 8. Island Biogeography: Assembly and Evolution of Insular Biotas. [14]

April 15. Ecological Geography of Continental and Oceanic Biotas [15]; Conservation Biogeography and the Dynamic Geography of Humanity. [16]; Exam Review

April 22. Final exam

---------------------------------------------------------------

Note: This is a tentative class schedule.  Therefore material for exams will be based only on lectures covered during the regular class hours prior to the exam day.  Dates of exam are subject to change depending on how far the instructor goes with his lectures.  All students are expected to be available to take an exam or fulfill any class assignment during the regular class days indicated in this syllabus.

 


Dr. Ortega's office hours

Dr. Ortega is always available for students, however please contact him in advance if you want to meet outside his office hours. You can reach Dr. Ortega by email or phone. The day of the exam Dr. Ortega will not answer questions concerning the exam material.  Any class issue can ONLY BE DISCUSSED between the instructor and the student, no third parties from outside FIU such as relatives, spouses, friends, class-mates, can be involved in any discussion concerning any particular issue that the student might have during this course.  These issues include but are not limited to grades, class performance, etc.

Dr. Ortega will be available to help the students with any question on the material of the course during his office hours. This is not an online course; therefore, questions pertinent to the course material will be answered during the regular office hours of the instructor. We will not provide review sessions before the exams.

 


Text book

 Biogeography, 4th edition, by Lomolino, Riddle, Whittaker, and Brown. Sinauer Associates Inc.

 


Class Policies

Schedule: Class will begin at 2:00 pm. Please be on time. Important announcements, etc. will be made at the beginning of class, which you don’t want to miss.

Class conduct and email list:

1.-  We expect all students to behave as reasonable adults just like in any university classroom in any other school. It is important to have respect towards the instructor and fellow classmates. Inconsiderate, disrespectful, dishonest, or disruptive behavior, as the instructor or your fellow classmates perceive it, or as is described in the Student Handbook, is unacceptable for adults in this course. The instructor reserves the right to ask you to leave or have you removed if such behavior is present. Such behavior may bring about official disciplinary procedures as outlined in the Student Handbook.

2.-  Please turn off your cell phones and beepers.  Eating, and CHATTING are not allowed during class sections.  Students are not allowed to bring pets, family members, friends, etc. during class sections.  We expect that students who attend the lectures will take notes.  During lectures, students are not allowed to read notes/newspapers/books/magazines, send/received text messages with their cell-phones, surf the internet with their laptops/cell phones or prepare home-work for other courses, such behavior is disruptive toward the instructor and the rest of the students.  Students are welcome to interrupt the instructor any time that an idea of concept is not clear. Students who are not officially registered for this course are not allowed to attend the class lectures.

3.-  Students are required to arrive on time to class.  We will NOT TAKE class attendance, and coming to class IS NOT A REQUIREMENT for this course.  Student performance will be evaluated ONLY by the regular and final exams (see below details on exam policy).

4.-  Students are required to send a registration email with their email address to Dr. Ortega before the first exam. They must use their own email accounts. Dr. Ortega will reply all the registration emails within a 24 hour period after the registration email has been sent, students who do not receive an email back from Dr. Ortega MUST contact him as soon as possible.  The subject of the registration email must say “BIOGEOGRAPHY STUDENT: STUDENT LAST NAME”. The registration email must be signed with the full name of the student and must include the student’s panther ID number.  We expect for students to read their emails often (at least once per day) to check for any developing of this course. Important announcements will be posted in the web-site of the course.

5.-  We expect all students to follow the directions outlined in this syllabus, announced in class, posted in the website of this course, and distributed via email or computer mailing list, plus others.  We are not responsible for issues resulting from lack of knowledge due to students not checking these resources.  Also, not having access to these resources is not an excuse--Email not working, internet was down, biology web-site is not working, Fairchild or FIU website is not working, library web-site is not working, I wasn't in class when an announcement was made, etc.  ALL the important announcements of this course will be made: (1) at the beginning of class (first five minutes) or  (2) send by email or (3) posted in the website o this course. There is a chance that many class announcements (including material for the exam) will NOT BE posted on the web-page of this course and/or will not be sent by email.  This syllabus and the class schedule are subject to changes.  Announcements made in class will have priority, therefore although class attendance will not have any direct effect on exam grades it will help the student to be aware of any class development not announced by email.  Please be sure you do not come late because you don't want to miss any important announcements. 

6.- Students who have scholarships, or work full/part time, or live far away, or are applying for jobs, or are in the army, or have a busy family schedule, or are taking many courses, or are in their last semester, or need to have an outstanding grade because future career plans will be evaluated based on their class performance ONLY.  All these extra-course activities will not have any influence concerning their final grade.  Therefore, the instructor expects that the students will not bring these extra-course activities when they want to discuss with him class performance and/or expectations.  An incomplete grade will be delivered under VERY EXCEPTIONAL documented circumstances such as MAJOR sudden and unexpected serious health problem of the student or his/her family, Dr. Ortega will not accept any other excuse to provide an incomplete grade. Dr. Ortega always checks excuse documents and any student bringing false documents will be the subject of university regulation in this matter and will be reported to the Academic AffairsUnit. Students with major  health, family, or professional issues that can represent an impediment for performing well in this course are strongly recommended to drop this course.

 


Exam and grades

Cheating policy: I will follow strictly the “Student Handbook” regarding cheating.  Procedures for both formal and informal procedures can be found under the section “Academic Misconduct” in the “Conduct & Policies” chapter. Anyone caught cheating will be asked to leave the class, will be given an “F” for the whole course and a petition will be sent to Academic Affairs. I will go strictly by the University’s policy on cheating.

Grades: They will be based on the best 3 scores from the two hour exams (100 points each), plus the final (100 points). In other words, your lowest score of the 3 hour exams andthe final exam will be dropped. This policy is implemented in case a student has a serious professional/personal conflict or emergency (i.e., job interview, important family event, interview to join another academic program, family emergency, etc.) the day of one of the four exams. The final exam will be semi-comprehensive: I will focus on material in the latter part of the semester (80%), but will feel free to ask you questions which require concepts and information from throughout the rest of the semester (20%). No make-up exams will be allowed.

 

Final grades will be as follows:

A = 270 – 300 points

B+ = 258 – 269 points

B  = 240 – 257 points

C+ = 228 – 239 points

C = 210 – 227 points

D = 180 – 209 points

F < 180 points

 

100% of the exams will be based exclusively on material found in the text book. The instructor will indicate in advance which sections of the text-book will be covered  in the exam. This information will be sent by email and also posted in the website of the course

I only write letters of recommendation for students who receive an A in this course.

The day of the exam:  Please bring two sharpened #2 pencils with erasers to all exams. Students must bring a valid picture ID for their identification, valid picture IDs are: driving license, FIU ID card, green-card, voter-registration card, or passport.  All other materials (including wallets, bags (any size), cell-phones, bottles of waters/soda, etc.) will have to be placed at the front or back of the class, so it is best not to carry anything to the room on exam day. If you expect a phone call during the exam because any kind of emergency it is your responsibility to arrange for somebody else to answer this phone-call as you will not be allowed to speak on the phone during the exam.  Prior to the exam students will have 5 minutes to go to the bathroom. Each student will be assigned to a particular seat by the instructor.  You must sign your exam.  It will be turned in to the instructor or assistant when you are finished. No one can leave unless they have returned the exam. You are not allowed to write anything on the exam except your name, FIU student number and a small circle to indicate the answer for each question. Each multiple-choice question will have four choices, there is only one possible answer per question.  It is very likely that the exam also will have questions that will require to write a short answer of no more that 20 lines. When you are finished, you must return ALL materials given to you during the test whether filled out or not.  Talking is not allowed. Cheating will be dealt with seriously and severely. Grades will be posted on this web-site (see above). Students can check their exams, but exams will not be given back to the students. Students MUST check their grades by themselves and not delegate in somebody else to check for them.  All the students MUST check their grades as soon as they are posted.  Students who are not officially registered in this course will not be allowed to take the exam (see section 7 of this syllabus for students with an incomplete grade).  Students will be allowed to check their exams during a one week period after the grades of each exam are posted.  Students will have a second opportunity to check their exams after the final grade of the course is officially posted.  Dr. Ortega understands that all students will check their final grades (by themselves and not by somebody else) the week after final exam and that they will immediately contact the instructor if they want to review their class performance and final grade.  Students will have only one semester (Summer 2013) to claim for a change of grade.  The day of the exam we strongly recommend the students to come to FIU on Monday morning long before the time of the exam. Students must plan well in advance their Spring 2013 schedule; it is their responsibility to be sure that the day of the exam they will not face any conflict with ANY other extra-curriculum activity.  The instructor understands that when the student registers to this class he/she does not have any major conflict that will not allow him/her to be in FIU at least one hour before the beginning of the exam. The instructor also understands that all the students who enroll for this course have read this syllabus and understand and accept the course policy. The instructor also understands that the students have arranged their schedule for Spring 2013 that Mondays between 2:00 and 4:46 PM they are available to take any exam, class assigment or class activity even if they are not listed in the initial syllabus.

ARRIVING LATE: (Please read this carefully as we will follow a VERY strict policy on this issue) If you arrive to an exam more than 30 minutes late, or after the first person finishes the test (whichever comes first) you will not be allowed to take the exam. We will not make any exception to this rule.

MAKE-UPS: There are no make-up exams for this course; if a student does not attend one exam, then this exam will be dropped from the final grade (see grade section above).



COURSE UPDATES

1.- Announcements:

On Saturday February 16th we made the field trip to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. I would like to thank all the students who came to the Garden for their time and interest in the activities that we are developing in this institution. Image below: field trip participants inside the butterfly conservatory.

 

 

 


2.- Exam content:

Exam 1 Content and Highlights

Dear Biogeography Student,

First things first, many thanks for your interest in this course. As an instructor it is gratifying to see high class attendance and importantly that during my lectures the students ask questions and seem to be engaged with the material. The content of this group email will be posted in the webpage of the course. So far only 11 students sent me their email address; therefore I would appreciate that you forward this email to any students who is not listed in the email list (see above). For this exam I will not have any specific reading material (from the text-book) of topics not covered during my lectures. I will have specific readings for the other exams. The exam will focus only on material taught during my lectures. The exam will be straight forward and onlybased on what I list below.

I will expect from you to have a good understanding of the following topics:

1.- Lecture topics based on the text-book (including the images shown during my lectures). This material is found in the following pages of the text-book: 3-14; 15-42 (excluding Box 2.1); and 47-63 (excluding Aquatic environments). You will notice that these pages will have topics not covered at all in my lectures (for instance discussion about the importance of Karl Popper in biogeography, page 9 of text book); these topics will not be part of the exam; therefore I will not ask any question about Karl Popper. I expect you that for each of the topics that I covered in my lectures you also read and understand their corresponding sections in the text-book as it is likely that that some of these topics are a bit more elaborated in the text book than in my lectures (for instance the "Formation of major soil types" section in pages 59 and 60 of text book). Based on my own experience preparing my lectures I recommends you to go over the Glossary section of the text-book (pages 765-784) when you find a particular concept difficult to follow in the main chapters.

2.- Topics included in my lectures that are not in the text-book; particularly the examples that I brought to clarify some of the concepts.

 


Exam 2 Content and Highlights

The content of this group email will be posted in the webpage of the course and it concerns Exam 2. Not all the students have sent me their email address; therefore I would appreciate for you to forward this email to any students who is not listed in the email list (see above). For this exam there is specific reading material (from the text-book) see below. The exam will focus only on material taught during my lectures. The exam will be straight forward and only based on what I list below.

I will expect from you to have a good understanding of the following topics:

1.- Lecture topics based on the text-book (including the images shown during my lectures). This material is found in the following pages of the text-book: 63-65; 84-114; and 121-126, 130-150, 156-159, 167-178, 181-202. You will notice that these pages will have topics not covered at all in my lectures; these topics will not be part of the exam; therefore I will not ask any question about them. I expect you that for each of the topics that I covered in my lectures you also read and understand their corresponding sections in the text-book as it is likely that that some of these topics are a bit more elaborated in the text book than in my lectures. Based on my own experience (when I have been preparing my lectures) I recommend for you to go over the Glossary section of the text-book (pages 765-784) when you find a particular concept difficult to follow.

2.- Topics included in my lectures that are not in the text-book; particularly the graphs and examples that I brought to clarify some of the concepts.

3.- Reading assignment. Chapter 4,  A Preview of Derived Patterns (pages 114 - 119).

 

Exam 3 Content and Highlights

The content of this group email will be posted in the webpage of the course and it concerns Exam 3. Not all the students have sent me their email address; therefore I would appreciate for you to forward this email to any students who is not listed in the email list (see above). For this exam there is specific reading material (from the text-book) see below. The exam will be based on material taught during my lectures. The exam will be straight forward and only based on what I list below.

I will expect from you to have a good understanding of the following topics:

1.- Lecture topics based on the text-book (including the images shown during my lectures). This material is found in the following pages of the text-book: 236-258; 259-299; 306-312; 313-339; 347-357. You will notice that these pages will have topics not covered at all in my lectures; these topics will not be part of the exam; therefore I will not ask any question about them. I expect you that for each of the topics that I covered in my lectures you also read and understand their corresponding sections in the text-book as it is likely that that some of these topics are a bit more elaborated in the text book than in my lectures. Based on my own experience (when I have been preparing my lectures) I recommend for you to go over the Glossary section of the text-book (pages 765-784) when you find a particular concept difficult to follow.

2.- Topics included in my lectures that are not in the text-book; particularly the graphs and examples that I brought to clarify some of the concepts.

3.- Reading assignment for Exam 3: The following pages of the text-book will be part of exam 3 as reading assigment: Chapter 7: pages 207-210 (excluding Systematics); Mechanisms of Genetic Differentiation (only sections concerning Mutation, Genetic Drift, and Natural Selection, pages 217-219); and Contact and reinforcement (pages 228 - 230).


Final Exam Content and Highlights

 

 

Last updated: April-22-2013