PLNT*6080 Plant Disease Epidemiology and Management

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2021 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

This course will focus on the epidemiology and management of plant diseases caused by fungi, viruses, and bacteria.  Emphasis will be placed on infection cycles, host-pathogen interactions and factors leading to development of diseases of plants.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Graduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Monday 1pm-4pm CRSC 202 

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Find gaps in research and write a detailed proposal.
  2. Show development of problem-solving skills by working through case studies and participating in class discussions.
  3. Review peer-reviewed literature and display knowledge and understanding of epidemiological concepts of plant disease development in a number of pathogen/host relationships in detail.
  4. Demonstrate research and writing skills through weekly written assignments that answer specific questions relating to plant diseases.
  5. Synthesize ideas and develop and support a scientific argument in written and oral formats.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the international and historical significance of important plant pathogens.
  7. Present ideas succinctly and clearly in a formal oral presentation.

Lecture Content:

Epidemiology and management of plant diseases caused by fungi, viruses, and bacteria.  Emphasis will be placed on infection cycles, host-pathogen interactions and factors leading to development of diseases of plants.  The emphasis is on independent learning, reading the scientific literature, assessing, consolidating and interpreting information, and presenting information in written and oral formats.  Class discussions are an important component of the learning process.

Labs & Seminars:

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or test
Contribution to Final Grade

Weekly written assignments


Oral presentation


Case study


Research proposal


Additional Notes

Written assignments (40% total): A written assignment will be prepared and submitted each week based on the questions in the course assignments.  The written assignment must be no longer than 2 pages (12 point text, Times New Roman, single spaced).  References can be added as an additional page.  The assignment must be clear, concise and grammatically correct, with proper citations, as if it was the text to be used for the introduction to a scientific paper.  Each assignment is worth 5 % of the final mark.  There will be 8 of these assignments (5 x 8 = 40 % total).

Oral assignments: Each student will present the information in their written assignment as a presentation to the class.  This will be a PowerPoint or similar presentation, approximately 20 minutes long, followed by questions to the student about the material and general class discussion.  Each student will present 4 presentation during the semester, worth 5% each ( 4 x 5 = 20%).

Epidemiology case study (15% total).  10% from written assignment (each student gets the same mark on the written portion) and 5% for the oral presentation.  Each student will be marked separately on the oral presentation.

Final assignment- research proposal (25% total).  20% written portion, 5% oral presentation


Final examination:

There is no scheduled examination for this course.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:


Recommended Texts:

There are several plant pathology texts that can provide a general overview of the topics. Students are expected to read the scientific literature, in addition to finding information in text books. 

Lab Manual:


Other Resources:

Plant pathology journals are available on line through the library.

Field Trips:


Additional Costs:


Course Policies:


All written assignments and all presentations are due by class time on the day of class.  Written assignments that exceed the 2 page limit will be marked down by 20%.  


Written assignments will be graded on clarity of the writing and of the arguments, good organization of the ideas and completeness and comprehensiveness of the information. To achieve full marks, assignments must include all four pathogens and  compare and contrast the information. 

Oral presentations will be assessed for organization, clarity, and completeness and comprehensiveness of the information, and are expected to cover the same information as in the written assignments. Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the material and terms used and be able to answer questions effectively. 

Course Policy on Group Work: 

There is one group assignment, the case study. All students in a group are expected to contribute fully to the group assignment, for both the written and oral portions. All other assignments, including the final assignment, are to be individual work, conforming with the university policies of academic integrity.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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