Spring 2021 - GEOG 215 D100

The Biosphere (3)

Class Number: 2770

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 11 – Apr 16, 2021: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 28, 2021
    Wed, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Bing Lu
    Office Hours: TBD - Email is preferred for contacting the Lecturer.
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 111.



An introduction to the planetary biosphere, its living organisms, and their interactions with each other and the Earth system.


The Biosphere is life on Earth - from biomes, regions determined by temperature and precipitation regimes, such as tropical forests and deserts, to soil microbes, plants and herbivores.  In this course, we will examine the complexities of elements and interactions, both physical and biological, that create and maintain ecosystems. We will also explore applying ecological concepts to the key challenges of our times, such as climate change, sustainability, ecological restoration and conservation of biodiversity.

A combination of synchronous and asynchronous teaching will be used for weekly lectures and lab tutorials. The synchronous sessions will be recorded and posted online for asynchronous learning. Attendance at synchronous sessions is optional. There are group projects, and the students are required to participate in group activities (e.g., online meetings, group presentations) and contribute to the group work. The Lecturer will be able to answer questions during office hours (online) or by appointment.

Note: There will be no labs in the first week of class.


  • Laboratory exercises 30%
  • Group project 10%
  • Midterm examination (Synchronous) 30%
  • Final examination (Synchronous) 30%



Technical requirements: a computer (or other mobile devices) and reliable internet will be needed for attending lectures/labs remotely, accessing Canvas for teaching materials, and participating in group activities.


Freedman, B. et al. 2016. Ecology: A Canadian Context. 2nd Edition. Publisher: Top Hat eText. eText ISBN: 9780176482008, 0176482008. (Available on VitalSource)

Any additional readings will be provided on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).