Nishanta "Nishi" Rajakaruna

Home » Courses


Bio 415 – Biogeography – Every Fall

Course Description

What we currently see in nature is only a snapshot of a constantly varying assortment of plants and animals that are and have been responding to an endless sequence of biotic and abiotic change. Biogeography is the study of plants and animals in space and time and is concerned with the analysis and explanation of patterns of distribution, both local and global, that have taken place in the past and are taking place today. Biogeography is also a predictive science enabling us to predict how biota might behave in the future under a given set of circumstances. As students of biogeography we will attempt to tackle questions such as: Why are there so many different species of animals and plants? Why are some species so common, others so rare? Why do some species show extremely local distributions while others are cosmopolitan? Why are some parts of the world more diverse than others? How have these unique patterns of distribution come about? What are the factors involved in the evolution as well as the extinction of species? & How will climate change influence the future patterns of biodiversity? Evaluations are based on two homework assignments, mid-term and final exams, five short quizzes, a final project presentation, and class participation.  It is expected that students will be actively engaged learners beyond their attendance in regularly scheduled lectures and discussions.  This commitment includes attendance, class participation, individual meetings with the instructor, video viewings, library research, completion of reading assignments, study time, and the synthesis of this work through assignment completion, including a final project and its presentation. Prerequisites Bio 263, Bio 303 or 351. Offered every Fall.

Bot 121 –  General Botany – Winter, Summer, Fall

Students who complete Botany 121 with a passing grade are expected to have a better understanding of the following:
1. The basics of plant cell and tissue structure and function
2. The correct use of plant names and a basic understanding of botanical nomenclature
3. The anatomically important features of stems, flowers, wood, leaves, roots, and fruits
4. The basic physiology and anatomy of photosynthesis and respiration
5. The importance of plants in human affairs
6. Basic skills of plant identification, plant collection, documentation and herbarium use
7. The basics of plant ecology
8. General experimental and observation skills in botany
9. An appreciation of the natural world and the importance of plants in providing habitat and nourishment
for animals

For courses taught in the past see here.