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PPATH 542: Epidemiology of Plant Diseases (Spring 2018)

Department(s)

  • Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

Description

Course Logistics

Instructor: Dr. Paul Esker, Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
Office: 219 Buckhout Lab
Phone: 814-865-0680
Email:

Class meeting times: Tues/Thurs | 8:00-9:55 a.m.
Class location: 201 Buckhout Lab
Course credits: 3
Course prerequisites: PPATH 401, MATH 111 or MATH 141 or 3 credits in statistics

Course Objectives

  1. To increase understanding regarding how plant disease epidemics occur and change over time and space.
  2. To increase knowledge about the different tools and methods that can be applied for monitoring and quantification of plant pathogens and diseases.
  3. To demonstrate the importance of crop losses, as well as the methods used to quantify, predict, and reduce crop losses.
  4. To improve computational skills related to modeling and analysis of epidemiological data.

Course Materials

  • Primary readings from: The Study of Plant Disease Epidemics, L.V. Madden, G. Hughes, and F. van den Bosch (2007).
  • Various book chapters and journal articles.
  • Students should have access to a personal computer and either R or SAS software. We will also use some examples based on Stella, but no additional special software will be required (see isee Exchange Directory).

Course Grading

Activity%
Two exams (midterm and final) 50
Problem assignments 30
Course Project 20
TOTAL 100

Course Topics

  1. Introduction to plant disease epidemiology:
    1. History and importance
    2. General terminology
  2. Monitoring diseases and epidemics:
    1. Methods to measure disease incidence and severity
    2. Host measurements
  3. Brief introduction to the analysis of epidemiological data:
    1. Concepts in modeling
    2. Mathematical and statistical methodology applied to epidemiology
  4. Temporal disease progress:
    1. Disease progress over time
    2. Models and analysis
  5. Spatial patterns and disease spread:
    1. Aggregation and plant diseases
    2. Pathogen and disease dispersal
    3. Spatial scale and disease monitoring
    4. Sampling
  6. Crop loss assessment:
    1. History and importance
    2. Types of yield
    3. Quantification and modeling
  7. Decision-making based on epidemiological principles

Course Project

Epidemiology is best learned by practice. In this course, students will have the opportunity to develop a group project related to the plant disease epidemiology, including, the following possibilities:

  1. Development of a white paper on the future needs in plant disease epidemiology.
  2. Development of a Shiny app illustrating a specific concept in plant disease epidemiology.
  3. Development of a teaching article related to a specific concept in plant disease epidemiology.

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