REG-33306 Disease Ecology


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical51
Course coordinator(s)dr. K Matson
Lecturer(s)dr. K Matson
dr. WF de Boer
Examiner(s)dr. K Matson

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

REG-20803 Applied Animal Ecology

Continuation courses:

Thesis MFN


The overarching aim of the course is to offer a current and comprehensive view of the causes and consequences of infectious disease at the levels of individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. Primary objectives are that students understand 1) the host-parasite relationship as a key ecological interaction (i.e., analogous to the predator-prey relationship) and 2) the general approaches and specific techniques essential to the study disease ecology.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- summarize the key features of different infectious diseases;
- evaluate ecological factors that affect disease outbreaks;
- justify predictions relating ecological variation and host immune defences;
- assess methods for studying diseases;
- implement an ecological study;
- appraise modelling approaches;
- evaluate interventions to control diseases.


- reading assigned literature;
- participating in lectures, practicals, and collaborative activities;
- modelling diseases;
- carrying out experiments and analyzing data.


Three main components will contribute equally to the final grade:
- short quizzes (daily, digital, and in-class; based on that days materials) and a final examination (based on entire lecture/theory component);
- project presentation I (based on computer modelling practical; a daily blog to share triumphs and challenges with classmates and instructors);
- project presentation II (based on results from field/laboratory practical; a short talk with audio-visual and/or slide (e.g. PowerPoint) support);
To pass the course, a minimum grade of 5.5 is required for each component.


A reader will be available, digital and hardcopy.

Restricted Optional for: MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScB: Management6WD
MFNForest and Nature ConservationMScC: Ecology6WD
MASAnimal SciencesMScF: Animal Ecology6WD