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BIOL 315 -Diseases and Parasites


Dr. George A. Lozano

Teaching Assistant

Chris Rothenbach

Course Description

The Official Version: Biological aspects of infectious diseases, parasites and environmental contaminants in wild vertebrate animal populations. 3.0 Credit Hours  Prerequisites:  BIOL 307 (Ichthyology and herpetology) or BIOL 308 (Ornithology and mammalogy) Minimum Grade of D.

My 2 ¢.- Competition, predation and parasitism are the main 3 types of biotic interactions, but whereas competition and predation have long been included in ecology courses, parasitism has traditionally been studied separately, largely in a natural history context, in which parasites and their life cycles were identified, surveyed and memorized. Well, the tide has turned! Parasites and parasitism are now considered to be crucial to the ecology of any biological system; the scope of their effects range form the individual to the community, and involve physiology, speciation, immunity, behaviour, sexual selection, population dynamics, etc.

 This will not be a “traditional” parasitology course, which usually follow the taxon-by-taxon approach, nor will it be a course in veterinary medicine, which often follow the organ system by organ system approach. It will be more along the lines of the ecology of disease and parasites. In the lab section we will survey the traditional parasite taxa, conduct a few relevant exercises, and learn a few parasitological techniques. In the lecture section I will deal with the evolutionary and ecological aspects of parasites and diseases, and the process of disease investigation in the wild.


Lectures:    WF 8:30 am - 9:20 am  7-158
Labs:         Tue 11:30 am - 2:20 pm  8-325/8-317
                Tue 3:00 pm - 5:50 pm 8-325/8-317
Final Exam   TBA

 Consider lectures to be a scheduled, moderated, conversation between me and you (singular you), during which I will be the moderator and I will be doing most of the talking (but not ALL, please participate). Disruptive behaviour (repeated tardiness, cells phones, noise, side conversations, etc.) will not be tolerated. This is completely unnecessary, right?

Laboratories.- Students are expected to attend the laboratory session for which they are registered. Often there shall be an introductory talk at the start, so punctuality is paramount. Afterwards you are free to work at your own leisure, and leave when you are comfortably familiar with the material.


Primary Textbook.- There shall be no official textbooks, as I will be using a variety of sources, which I will introduce in class. You are encouraged to purchase one or several of these, depending on your goals and needs.  In class I will discuss the strengths, weaknesses and usefulness of each.

 Web sites

Classroom success
Parasitology manual

George A. Lozano
Animal Diseases NWT
Animal Diseases BC

Grading and Exams

 Exams will cover all previously covered material, not just the material covered since the previous exam, or the last month, or the last week. Except as dictated by university or departmental polices, there shall be no make-up exams; after all this is biology, not cosmetology. 


% of total

Lab Assignments 25
Paper 10
Midterm 1 15
Midterm 2 20
Final 30

  Academic Honesty.- Please check UNBC’s official Undergraduate Regulations and Policies, particularly section IV-44.


 Lecture and lab schedules, lectures in pdf format, etc.

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