Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease in a Changing World


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This course has space available. An application is not required for this seminar.

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Infectious diseases are caused by live organisms embedded in ecological systems that respond to species interactions and environmental changes. Climate change, habitat destruction, land use change, species invasions, and extinctions are all shifting the ecological interactions that affect infectious disease transmission in humans, wildlife, livestock, and crops. Through popular and scientific reading and discussion, collaboration on group projects, and visits from guest speakers from the public health and ecology of infectious disease sectors, we will explore the often unexpected ways in which global change affects infectious diseases.

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Meet the Instructor(s)

Erin Mordecai

"I was born in Illinois but grew up in Georgia, where I attended the University of Georgia. During that time, I took a field course that took us through 22 states, hiking and camping through national and state parks and learning ecology, geology, and anthropology hands on. Back on campus, I got interested in using math to solve biological problems such as the spread of infectious disease. Together, these experiences sold me on the field of ecology. After seeing a cool talk about how parasites can modify the behavior of their hosts, I decided to do my Ph.D. in sunny Santa Barbara at UC Santa Barbara, where I studied ecology, evolution, and marine biology. I like to think about how global changes in climate, human movement, plant and wildlife communities, land use, and urbanization affect the ecology of disease transmission, and I look forward to taking you through the complex and changing world of global health."