Our tiny predators:

ecology, infection, and disease

New for spring 2015!

Biol 3700 Undergraduate seminar

Our Tiny Predators: Ecology, Infection, Disease


  • Wednesdays 2:30 - 4:25 pm
  • EAST BANK
  • 2 credits


Meets once per week, no required textbooks

Some topics we'll cover

Early in the development of our species, we suffered large predators in the way our primate relatives still do today. But then we developed spears longer than the longest teeth and our large predators were subdued. Yet predators still threaten today. We call them pathogens.


Learn: (1) How ecological predator-prey relationships acquire special characteristics we call ”symptoms of disease.” (2) How the ecological challenges faced by small animals living in a pond parallel those faced by pathogens living within the body of a host. (3) How sexually transmitted diseases are formally equivalent to vector-borne diseases such as those carried by mosquitoes. (4) How vaccination has the same properties in epidemiology as habitat destruction does in conservation biology. (5) How ideas and social concepts are transmitted between human minds according to the same dynamics as biological infections spread. (6) You will learn how computer programs like R shed light on the dynamics of disease.


All this within an ecological framework treating disease as a dynamical system of predators and prey. Applications to medicine, public health, wild and domestic animals, plants and crops, and conservation biology will emerge.

Maybe you've seen our poster around campus?

Big image

Questions about the class? Contact us!

Clarence Lehman: lehman@umn.edu

Shelby Williams: will1366@umn.edu