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The University of Southampton

SOES6062 Pathogens and Disease in Marine Systems

Module Overview

The module introduces the diversity of marine parasites and pathogens and explores their classical and molecular ecology.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • knowledge of common marine pathogens
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • team working
  • report writing
  • time management
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • in description of specimens, interrogation, analysis and presentation of raw data
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • An awareness of the range and variety of parasitic associations in the sea;
  • An understanding of the evolutionary and ecological aspects of marine parasitism;
  • A practical knowledge of methods of pathogen detection, enumeration and evaluation;
  • A knowledge of medical and economic problems caused by marine parasites.


There are many different kinds of associations between species of organisms. Parasitism is perhaps the most intimate of these, involving very tight integration between the biologies of the interacting species. Contrary to popular belief, parasitic relationships are highly varied and parasitism can be extraordinarily difficult to define. The associations between organisms are often so subtle as to defy easy description. However, the development of molecular techniques over the last twenty years has opened up new means of characterising these intimate associations and the marine fauna provide an unparalleled range of parasitic interactions. Most marine animal phyla include parasitic members and most marine animals are themselves susceptible to infection by co evolved parasitic species. An overview is given of the range of such associations in the sea and the phylogenetic diversity of both parasites and hosts. Other topics covered include: problems faced by parasites and the ways in which they have overcome these; evolutionary and ecological aspects of being a marine parasite; economic and medical marine parasitology.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures: 22 x 45 minute lectures will provide an introduction to the theory underlying an ecological approach to understanding the role of pathogens in marine ecology. Each lecture systematically covers the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations. Where relevant, lecturers' own research experience in the appropriate fields is brought into the lecturing sessions and, when possible, speakers from the parasitology group at the Natural History Museum and the CEFAS Fish Diseases Laboratory, Weymouth will be included in the lecture programme. References to the applicable chapter of course text and/or other relevant journal articles are provided as essential reading for each lecture. Practical sessions: 4 x 3 hour practicals exemplify the theory covered during formal lectures allowing you to develop particular skills of relevance to: identification of common marine parasites in fish and invertebrates, behavioural modification by hormonal disruption such as serotonin in gammarids, and the molecular detection of parasites. Support: is provided by staff and/or postgraduate demonstrators. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study116
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

The module is supported by a comprehensive Blackboard site populated with appropriate literature resources. All lectures in this module will be recorded using Panopto The course will include opportunities for revision sessions.. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 40%
Essay 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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