First Edition   ©2015

Living Physical Geography

Bruce Gervais (California State University, Sacramento)

  • ISBN-10: 1-4641-0664-9; ISBN-13: 978-1-4641-0664-4; Format: Paper Text, 704 pages

Explores the Human-Physical Interface
Living Physical Geography was written to highlight the role of people in changing and being changed by Earth’s physical systems. Students learn how human activity influences Earth’s physical systems, ranging from local stream erosion to global climate change. Students also learn how scientists investigate geographical phenomena (such as earthquakes, volcanoes, severe weather, and stream flooding) to mitigate their human cost and reduce human vulnerability to these events.

Emphasizes the Process of Science, the Scientific Method, and the Importance of Critical Thinking
Living Physical Geography grounds students in the process of science and the scientific method, helping students understand how we know what we know about physical geography. It also addresses students as citizens, helping them develop their own independent and informed ideas about geographic issues based on observation and scientific evidence.

Balances Coverage of Atmosphere and Biosphere
Living Physical Geography balances coverage of the atmosphere with coverage of terrestrial and marine biospheres, tectonic systems, and geomorphic systems. Living Physical Geography highlights the importance of the oceans to atmospheric chemistry, the climate system, and food resources, as well as gauging the significance of human influences on ocean ecosystems.

Unique Content

  • Climate Change: A complete chapter devoted to climate change (Chapter 6). This chapter draws on the most recent data and scientific theories. It discusses natural climate change first, and then discusses human-caused climate change in the context of those natural changes.
  • Biomes and Climate: The Köppen climate classification is coupled with biomes (Chapter 8) to provide succinct coverage and to illustrate the genetic linkage between climate and biomes.
  • Ocean Ecosystems: The Living Hydrosphere: Ocean Ecosystems (Chapter 10) offers a geographic survey of the marine ecosystems, reflecting recent advances in scientists’ understanding of them and human-caused changes to them.
  • Google Earth: Google Earth activities at the end of each chapter provide a unique perspective on chapter material and allow students to investigate relevant topics and revisit chapter concepts using Google Earth (with KMZ files available online).
  • Plate Tectonics: Plate tectonics theory is covered early in Part III (Chapter 11) and forms a conceptual foundation that informs all subsequent geologic and geomorphic topics thereafter.  
  • Geohazards: Volcanoes and earthquakes are contextualized as geohazards in Chapter 14 to emphasize the relevancy and human vulnerability to these systems.
  • Atmospheric Humidity: Atmospheric humidity (Chapter 3) is covered before atmospheric circulation, giving students a better foundation for understanding the formation of global precipitation patterns and the mechanics of various meteorological systems, such as thunderstorms and hurricanes.
  • Lab Manual: A lab manual written specifically for Living Physical Geography provides instructors with a student-friendly quantitative approach to the study of physical geography.
Pedagogical Features
  • The Big Picture (at the start of each chapter) briefly summarizes the main takeaway concept of the chapter.
  • Learning Goals list the key takeaway concepts at the outset of each chapter and provide the framework for the chapter’s text and online assessments.
  • The Human Sphere begins each chapter by exploring a geographical issue or human-physical interaction relevant to the chapter.
  • Geographic Perspectives concludes each chapter by exploring contemporary issues in physical geography. This feature encourages students to make connections independently among topics within and across chapters and facilitates discussions of the most important and pressing issues in physical geography today.
  • Scientific Inquiry looks at why scientists do what they do, how they know what they know, and how they collect and interpret scientific data in the field. Topics range from how a stream gauge works to how scientists study ancient climates.
  • Geo-Graphics combine words and step-by-step captions to walk students through an illustrated summary of an important topic.
  • Picture This combines photos and a brief narrative to highlight a fascinating example of the topic at hand.  Each includes Consider This critical-thinking questions that students can answer by reading the narrative and analyzing the photos.
  • Crunch the Numbers in each chapter offers quantitative reasoning exercises to help students get a feel for the role of mathematical and empirical data in the study of physical geography.

Developed with extensive feedback from instructors and students, LaunchPad offers:

  • Pre-built Units for each chapter, curated by experienced educators, with media for that chapter organized and ready to assign or customize to suit your course.
  • All online resources for the text in one location, including an interactive e-book, LearningCurve adaptive quizzing (see below), Google Earth activities, and more.
  • Intuitive and useful analytics, with a Gradebook that lets you see how your class is doing individually and as a whole.
  • A streamlined and intuitive interface that lets you build an entire course in minutes.

In a game-like format, LearningCurve adaptive and formative quizzing provides an effective way to get students involved in the coursework. It offers:

  • A unique learning path for each student, with quizzes shaped by each individual’s correct and incorrect answers.
  • A Personalized Study Plan, to guide students’ preparation for class and for exams.
  • Feedback for each question with live links to relevant e-book pages, guiding students to the reading they need to do to improve their areas of weakness.