Phylogeography - Why are we here and how did we get here?

Learning Information

  • ToL Learner Level:
    • Intermediate; Advanced
  • Target Grade/Age Level:
    • All Grade/Age levels.
    • Can be modified for many age/grade levels
  • Learning Objective(s). Learners will:
    • -Understand and be able to recreate the geological history of the Earth in terms of plate tectonics;
    • -Distinguish between geological events and their physical effects on Earth;
    • -Investigate the similarities and differences of various organisms found around Earth;
    • -Identify the geological precursors that led to the possible distinctions currently seen between organisms in different parts of the world;
    • -Provide examples of phylogeography at work in present-day situations;
    • -Identify key persons and relevant research that has lead to the field of phylogeography
  • Type of Activity
    • Classroom resource; Web-based resource; Home-based resource; Informal learning resource
  • Science Subject / Key Words
    • Evolution;
    • Phylogenetics;
    • Biodiversity;
    • Biogeography;
    • Paleobiology;
    • Morphology & Anatomy;
    • Life History & Development;
    • Genetics & Heredity;
    • phylogeography
  • Suggested Time Frame
    • Each module will require independent research and analysis of information. It is suggested that the depth required be proportional to the time alloted. Thus a beginner class could expect to spend a day/period alloted to each component whereas for older students the expectations may be set higher such that a higher proportion of individual work may be expected. Again, as the topics covered are broad in nature, it is advised that students are not rushed through the material but that sufficient time for understanding of each module is allowed.
  • Additional Treehouse Type:
    • Art and Culture;
    • Biography;
    • Investigation
  • Curricular Areas:
    • Social Studies
  • Language:
    • English
  • Teaching and Learning Strategy:
    • Inquiry Learning;
    • Hands-on Learning;
    • Visual Instruction;
    • Discussion;
    • Demonstration
  • Grouping:
    • Individualized instruction;
    • Large Group instruction;
    • Small Group instruction


If teachers/students are not familiar with some of the prior knowledge listed below, then it is advised that this material is covered prior to embarking on the phylogeography journey.

Physical Materials and Tools

  • Markers, colouring tools, scissors, access to a computer, paper, pens, modeling clay, poster board

Prior Knowledge

Although sufficient links and information are provided within the WebQuest, the following information would be beneficial to have been previously encountered: Basic idea of organisms and some genealogy. Understanding of familiar geological processes; earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain ranges, lakes, plate tectonics.

Information on the Internet

About This Page

Created as partial course credit for Origins 2FF3: Origins and Evolution of Organisms at McMaster University under Prof. Jon Stone, Associate Director Origins Institute.

All Rights Reserved.

 Treehouses are authored by students, teachers, science enthusiasts, or professional scientists. Anyone can sign up as a treehouse contributor and share their knowledge and enthusiasm about organisms. Treehouse contributions are checked for general accuracy and quality by teachers and ToL editors, but they are not usually reviewed by expert scientists. If you spot an error, please get in touch with the author or the teacher. For more information about quality control of Tree of Life content, see Status of Tree of Life Pages.

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