Parasite Ecology

Course content

Parasitism has been noted as the most successful way of life, and parasites are ubiquitous in animals.

The course studies the distribution, numbers and dynamics of parasites inside and outside the hosts, and the key factors regulating the parasite populations, using mainly domestic animals as examples.

The goal is to understand the complexity of parasite lifecycles and biology and the main biotic and a-biotic factors, which influence parasite transmission and regulate parasite populations.

The students are introduced to selected parasitological methods (hands on) used to identify and quantify parasites in the host and the environment. A field trip is included where samples are collected and analyzed in the laboratory. Post mortem examination of a natural host will also be conducted.

At the end of the course, the students will work in groups on a specific research question within parasite ecology. Based on relevant literature the students will write a mini-review on the selected topic. Relevant topics could be parasite population dynamics, intra- and interspecific competitions, experimental parasite models and diagnostic methods. 2-3 weeks are allocated for this part.

Education

MSc in Animal Science  

The students (MSc in Animal Science)  can only take one of the courses. SASK17006 Parasite Ecology or SBIK10198 Animal Parasitology

MSC in Biology 
 

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to give students a theoretical and practical insight into the fundamentals of parasite ecology using examples of selected domestic animals.

Knowledge

• Describe the biology of selected endo-parasites of animals.

• Describe how these parasites are transmitted in a complex ecosystem such as a farm, and how parasite populations are regulated.

• Describe how biotic and a-biotic factors affect the transmission of parasites. 

• Explain how parasitological methods are used to identify and quantify parasites in the host and the environment.

• Explain how experimental animal models can be used to study parasites and their interaction with the host.

 

Skills:

• Is aware of the factors that influence parasite transmission.

• Aware of the biotic and a-biotic factors that drive survival of parasite and infection of their host(s)

• Can use a limited number of parasitological methods to identify and quantify parasites in the host and environment.

 

Competences:

• Identify (diagnose) and quantify selected parasites in infected hosts and the environment.

• Interpret parasitological data and make conclusions about parasite transmission.    

• Identify relevant literature, summaries and discuss it.

The teaching method is lectures, seminars and laboratory exercises. The seminars will focus on key scientific articles, which are relevant for the theme of the lectures. The last part of the course is group work (2-3 students) and each group prepares a short literature review on a relevant subject in parasite ecology.

Evaluation model: Survey-based model.

Will mainly be based on handouts including articles

Suggested reading include parts of: 
Bush, A.O., Fernández, J.C., Esch, G.W., Seed, J.C.: Parasitism – the diversity and ecology of animal parasites. Cambridge University Press, 2001

Grønvold, J, Meyling, N.V., Skov, J., Al-Sabi, M.N.: Ecology of Parasites – selected case stories. 2007

Oral
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 30 min
The examination, which takes 30 minutes, comprises an oral presentation/discussion of a written report (group work) and questions within the curriculum.
Weight: Report and associated presentation/discussion 60 % and question within the curriculum 40 %. Based on these combined elements the student will get a single individual score.
Aid
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal censorship. More than one examiner.
Criteria for exam assessment

To achive the maximum grade of 12, the student shall be ablel to:

Knowledge

• Describe the biology of selected endo-parasites of animals.

• Describe how these parasites are transmitted in a complex ecosystem such as a farm, and how parasite populations are regulated.

• Describe how biotic and a-biotic factors affect the transmission of parasites. 

• Explain how parasitological methods are used to identify and quantify parasites in the host and the environment.

• Explain how experimental animal models can be used to study parasites and their interaction with the host.

 

Skills:

• Is aware of the factors that influence parasite transmission.

• Aware of the biotic and a-biotic factors that drive survival of parasite and infection of their host(s)

• Can use a limited number of parasitological methods to identify and quantify parasites in the host and environment.

 

Competences:

• Identify (diagnose) and quantify selected parasites in infected hosts and the environment.

• Interpret parasitological data and make conclusions about parasite transmission.    

• Identify relevant literature, summaries and discuss it.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 17
  • Colloquia
  • 9,75
  • Practical exercises
  • 26,5
  • Project work
  • 55
  • Preparation
  • 75
  • Exam Preparation
  • 21
  • Exam
  • 2
  • English
  • 206,25