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Disease is a significant but poorly understood factor in marine ecosystem dynamics, and has significance for humans as outbreaks can directly impact fisheries, aquaculture,  ecosystem services, and human health. The course is a 1 credit seminar in which students will lead presentations and discussions of important and contemporary peer reviewed studies on the ecology and evolution of diseases in aquatic systems. Discussions will address contextual information on strengths and weaknesses of disease detection methods, population and ecosystem consequences, and anthropogenic influences and management of diseases. The course will include guest lectures and discussions led by researchers of diseases that threaten vertebrate, crustacean, molluscan, and cnidarian species.

Expected Learning Outcomes

The goal of the class is to develop students’ literature search, critical reading, synthesis, and discussion skills.

● Literacy in disease ecology and evolution and effects of diseases on marine systems.

● Strategies for critically reading and synthesizing results from multiple scientific papers;

● Gain a broad appreciation for the diversity and impact of aquatic diseases and how they change with time.

Course Assessment / Grading


The course will be graded on a pass-fail basis.  Students are expected to read and synthesize the results from a primary research paper, read and assemble information on the background of the paper, and prepare a presentation and lead discussion of the paper for the class. Students are expected to contribute to discussions in each class.

Grading will be based on student presentations and leading discussion (65%) and class participation (35%).