The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

BIOL 4389 Goegraphical Information Systems in Biology

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in Biology is 80% hands-on exercises developed for the students to acquire enough knowledge on the use and applications of GIS in Biology, environmental sciences, and agricultural sciences. The class will cover local, regional, continental, and worldwide conservation priorities of living organisms in different types of environments (e.g., freshwater/terrestrial). Techniques include visualization, overlapping, and analysis of geospatial data (lines, points, polygons, raster); searching and downloading maps of human footprint, land use/cover, climate, soils, and other important data that could limit the distribution of a species. GIS in Biology will provide undergraduate students the opportunity to expand on GIS concepts through problem-solving assignments. Several exercises will be developed by each student to visualize important information (e.g., presence of rivers, pollutants in the area, habitat deforestation, range of species distribution, occurrence of endangered, invasive, or vector borne disease, both for plants and animals, etc.), to assess species risk status of conservation, and understand the ecology and distribution of invasive species and potential outbreaks of vector borne diseases. Students will understand the influence of biotic, abiotic, historical and anthropogenic factors in creating conservation priorities at different spatial scales. Guest speakers from local-regional agencies (e.g., Texas Parks and Wildlife) will be invited to talk about their research projects related to the use of GIS in Biology (e.g., land acquisition priorities for conservation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley).




One of the following: BIOL 3404, BIOL 3409, BIOL 4388, BIOL 4403, BIOL 3420

Schedule Type


Grading Basis

Standard Letter (A-F)

Administrative Unit