First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP8085019, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1179, Degree course structure A.Y. 2018/19, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 7.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination BIOGEOGRAPHY AND PHYLOGEOGRAPHY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge LORENZO ZANE BIO/07
Other lecturers GIUSEPPE FUSCO BIO/05

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/05 Zoology 2.0
Core courses BIO/07 Ecology 5.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
2 BIOGEOGRAFIA E FILOGEOGRAFIA 2019-2020 01/10/2019 27/11/2020 ZANE LORENZO (Presidente)
FUSCO GIUSEPPE (Membro Effettivo)
1 BIOGEOGRAFIA E FILOGEOGRAFIA 2018-2019 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 ZANE LORENZO (Presidente)
FUSCO GIUSEPPE (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: The course does not have specific requirements, but it uses basic knowledge of ecology, systematic biology and genetics.
Target skills and knowledge: The course focuses on the geographic distribution of the biological diversity and on evolutionary forces, historical and geological processes which explain the current patterns. This aim is pursued both at the intraspecific than at the species/higher taxa level.

Phylogeography is a recent discipline which studies the factors and processes shaping the spatial distribution of the genetic variation within species through the reconstruction of gene and population genealogies, tipically using genetic markers. Phylogeography attempts to link genetic diversity and lineage differentiation to past events such as population expansions, bottleneck events, migration and vicariance.
The knowledges that the student will obtain in the part of the course on phylogeography are:
1) knowledge of methods used in phylogeography, relatively to the specific methods used, the kind of data that can be obtained and on data analysis;
2) knowledge of which questions can be addressed with the phylogeographic approach.
The skills that the student will develop are:
1) capacity to read a phygeography scientific paper and to understand the methods used;
2) capacity to autonomously judge the robustness of methods used and the soundness of conclusions drawnin a phylogeographic article.

Biogeography studies the geographical distribution of organisms, mainly at the level of species or higher rank taxa. This distribution can generally be explained by a combination of historical factors, such as speciation, extinction, continental drift and ice ages, with the current environmental conditions. In this sense, the main distinction between Phylogeography and Biogeography is the time scale of the relevant processes, within and between species. The main educational goal of the part of Biogeography is to introduce the student to the study of the distribution of organisms on land, in the seas and freshwaters, as well as to the causes that led to such distributions in different environments.
The knowledges that the student will obtain in the part of the course on Biogeography are:
1) basic knowledge of biogeography with its multidisciplinary connections
2) main approaches to the description of biogeographic patterns
3) main synchronic and diachronic paradigms which explain the latter
The skills that the student will develop are:
1) to evaluate pros and cons of a descriptive framework within a multidisciplinary field of studies
2) to critically approach hypothesis formulation and testing in biogeography context
Examination methods: Written exam for Phylogeography (8 to ten multiple choice questions on the course topics and one open question with extended answer on one of the scientific articles of the course, to evaluate the student skills on synthesis, learning autonomy, use of lexicon).

Oral exam for Biogeography.
Assessment criteria: The overall assessment will be based on the ascertainment of the knowledges acquired in Biogeography and Phylogeography, with particular attention to the critical elaboration of concepts presented during classes. The two parts of the exam will be evaluted separately (on a 30th scale) and the final grade will be determined as the average of the two grades, weighted on the relative credits.
Course unit contents: The course is held by two teachers, one for Biogeography (2 credits of teaching in class and 1 credit of exercitation) and the other for Phylogeography (4 credits of teaching in class), and it is structured as detailed below.
Historical introduction to the discipline (1 credit).
Mitochondrial DNA: data analysis; study of population differentiation in relation to paleoclimatic events; historical demography; ancient DNA (1.5 credits).
Nuclear DNA: data analysis; individual identification; identification of populations on a genetic base; admixture; genetic variability and bottlenecks (1.5 credits).
Introduction to the discipline – Descriptive biogeography: ranges, biogeographic regions, chorology – Ecobiogeography: biotic and abiotic factors – Historical biogeography: dispersal, vicariance, evolution – History of the Italian fauna (2 credits).
Exercitation (1 credit) consists in field work of biological monitoring, whose logistic is defined from year to year.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course comprise classes, including critical reading of literature, and practical work in the field for Biogeography.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Slides made available by the teachers and textbooks, mainly for reference.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Avise JC, Molecular Markers, Natural History, and Evolution, Second Edition. Sunderland, MA (USA): Sinauer, 2004. lingua inglese Cerca nel catalogo
  • Freeland JR, Molecular Ecology. Chichester (England): John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2005. lingua inglese Cerca nel catalogo
  • Zunino M, Zullini A, Biogeografia. Rozzano (MI, Italia): Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2004. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Lomolino MV et al., ,Biogeography (IV ed). Sunderland (MA): Sinauer., 2010. lingua inglese Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Working in group
  • Problem solving
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

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