Code: BIOL-313
Semester: E
Course Type: Mandatory for the direction of “Environmental Biology and Management of Biological Recourses“
Course website: Course Website
Course units: 3
ECTS units: 4
Hours per week: Theory - 3 hours  


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Office phone number:  +30 2810 393619
Lab phone number:  +30 2810 393282


Objectives of the course: Basic principles of the forces that govern the abundance and distribution of the species. The Biogeography of Greece.

Course contents:   This course aims to provide you a theoretical background on the science of Biogeography. Biogeography studies the distribution of the biological diversity in space, seeking patterns and rules by emphasizing on the assessment of processes that shape biological diversity in a variety of time and space scales. It is a dynamic field where progress is rapid, fuelling both theoretical quests at the cutting edge of ecology and evolutionary biology, as well as practical applications in the fields of biological diversity and conservation on our planet. Some of the questions raised in biogeography are: Why a species or any given taxon (genus, family, order, etc.) follows the observed distribution in space? What allows a species to live there and what prevents it from settling different areas? What is the determining role of climate, topography, and the interactions with other species, in any given species distribution? How do different organisms replace each other along a gradient (habitat, climate, etc.)? How does a species end up being limited to its current distribution? Where did his ancestors live? How did historical events, such as Continental Drift, the glaciers of Pleistocene and the recent climate change, have shaped the distribution of species? Why are the animals and plants of large, isolated regions such as Australia, New Caledonia and Madagascar so different than those of other nearby areas? Why are some groups of closely related species confined to the same area, while others are in opposite parts of the Earth? Why there are many more species in the tropics than in the temperate zones and the poles? How the isolated oceanic islands are colonized, and why are there fewer species on the islands than continental regions, although organisms are facing with the same types of habitats?

At the end of the course, the student should be able to: (1) understand the contents and the study purpose of the biogeography, (2) develop a critical view on the distribution patterns of the organisms, (3) make valid scientific questions and hypotheses on biogeography of species, (4) discuss the main theories and approaches in the context of biogeography, (5) understand the comparative method in the biogeography and generally in biology and (6) understand the processes of morpho-ecological adaptations of organisms and the spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity.

Topics covered

  • Introductory definitions, history of Biogeography, divisions
  • The geographical, geological and climatic contexts
  • The ecological framework (biomes)
  • Distributions, biogeographical regions, barriers
  • Dispersal, Vicariance and Migrations.
  • Island Biogeography. Island life patterns. Characteristics of life on islands.
  • Theoretical Biogeography
  • Phylogeography
  • Biogeography of Greece
  • Biogeography of the Mediterranean Basin