HC241H: Sea Sick: Disease Ecology in the Ocean

Professor: Reyn Yoshioka

4.00 credits

  • CRN 21065: Tuesday & Thursday, 1200-1320 @ MCK 348

In 2013, sea stars along the North American west coast began to melt away. As the disease outbreak unfolded, it was soon clear that this was one of largest marine wildlife epizootics recorded, affecting over a dozen species of sea stars and decimating their populations. Yet, this is only one recent example of dramatic disease outbreaks in the ocean. The oceans affect countless aspects of our lives, leaving humans vulnerable to the cascading impacts of disease in marine life.

In this course, we will explore disease ecology by studying examples from marine systems, while also drawing from developments in non-marine fields such as terrestrial wildlife epidemiology and plant pathology. We will assess the diverse ways that humans impact and are impacted by marine outbreaks by drawing links between people and disease systems. What does climate change mean for marine disease? How does aquaculture balance disease risk and the rising demand for food? What do diseases in the ocean tell us about the diseases we face? Through primary literature readings, discussions, active demonstrations, and writing, students will start to tackle these problems and think about disease in our broader world.