Parasites appropriate host resources to feed and/or to reproduce, and lower host fitness to varying degrees. As a consequence, they can negatively impact human and animal health, food production, economic trade, and biodiversity conservation, and have historically been regarded by doctors, farmers, conservation biologists and ecologists as somewhere between evil and irrelevant. However, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that parasites are extremely diverse, have key roles in ecological and evolutionary processes, and paradoxically, may contribute to ecosystem services that positively influence human health and wellbeing.

Parasite Ecology and Conservation reviews the epidemiological, ecological, and conservation concepts required to consider the complex role of parasitic biodiversity in ecology and conservation and human wellbeing. Drawing on primary literature, the course will emphasize how (1) parasitic diversity plays a key role in the ecology of host individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems, (2) some of the key issues facing parasite diversity today, and (2) the evidence for considering parasites as meaningful conservation targets. This course aims to provide the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to help you to think more deeply about the interactions between parasitic and free-living species. Hopefully, you will never look at the world around you in the same way again.