Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Introduction to Climatic and Biogeographic Processes

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This unit reviews the global processes as they affect the physical environment of the earth. It introduces physical geography, in particular climate and biogeography. The emphasis lies on the spatial distribution of the various phenomena. These are treated in a systematic way and cover as broad a spectrum as possible, including discussions on climate change and ecosystems. The interaction between the physical units of weather and biogeography is examined.

Study-unit Aims:

1. Introduce the science of physical geography to students;
2. Explore and expand the linkages that exist between the main branches of physical geography (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere);
3. Direct students to focus on the main driving forces that power the atmospheric engine;
4. Introduce students to the main climatic regimes and discuss issues of global climate change;
5. Introduce students to terrestrial ecosystems and biomes, and focus on issues related to island biogeography.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. identify the main factors that control the atmospheric engine and explain related weather phenomena;
2. identify the main climatic regimes on a world map, describe their characteristics, and describe the main factors that contribute to their formation;
3. describe the principal factors that are driving global climate change and analyze the main impacts of this process;
4. identify the global distribution of biomes, describe their defining characteristics, and describe the principal edaphic factors that contribute to their formation;
5. describe the concept of ecosystems and apply this concept to the specific geographical context of islands.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. analyze given terrestrial ecosystems in terms of energy flows and material cycles;
2. analyze, at a basic level, media reports about climate change and its impacts.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:

- Aguado, E. & Burt, J. E. (2015) Understanding Weather and Climate, (7th ed.) Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
- MacDonald G. (2017) Biogeography: Introduction to Space, Time and Life, Wiley, New York.

Supplementary texts:

- Cox, C. B. and Moore, P. D. (2016) (E-edition 2016) 9th ed. Biogeography: an ecological and evolutionary approach, Blackwell, Oxford.
- Lomolino M., Riddle B. R. Whittaker, R. and Brown J. H. (2010) Biogeography (4th ed.) Sinauer, Mass. USA.
- Holden, J., (2012) An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment, 3rd ed. Pearson.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Deguara Joanna Causon
Sephora Sammut

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.