Module Catalogue 2015/16

BIO3023 : Plant Pathology

  • Offered for Year: 2015/16
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ethan Hack
  • Owning School: Biology
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

Modules in microbiology and genetics

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To illustrate the diverse and complex mechanisms and outcomes of interactions between pathogens and plants.
To show how understanding of factors determining epidemic development can be integrated with knowledge of specific disease control methods to develop control strategies that are effective, economic, and environmentally sound.
To consider the continuing challenge of pathogen evolution.
To show how research perspectives drawn from disparate disciplines complement one another.

This module considers both the basic and applied aspects of plant pathology. It introduces plant diseases, then considers how pathogens attack plants, how plants resist attack, how disease epidemics develop and how they can be described quantitatively and predicted, and how diseases are controlled. It shows how our current knowledge of plant pathology has drawn upon a wide range of research methods from disparate disciplines.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction: nature of plant diseases and disease resistance; the disease cycle.
Infection: host location, recognition, attachment, and penetration.
Biotrophic interactions: structure and function of haustoria.
How pathogens damage plants.
Principles of disease management.
Epidemiology: plant disease in populations.
Effects of the environment on disease development.
Disease modelling and forecasting.
Disease control with chemicals; the problem of fungicide resistance.
Disease control with resistant plants; genetics of disease resistance.
Integrated disease management.

Computer Practicals
Use of 'LATEBLIGHT' disease simulation program.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completing the module students should have enhanced their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of:
How pathogens attack and damage plants and how plants resist them;
Factors influencing the severity of plant disease outbreaks;
The advantages, limitations, and interrelations of different disease control methods;
How disease epidemiology and pathogen population biology influence control strategies;
The diversity of approaches to understanding plant diseases at the cellular and organismal levels, and the advantages and potential pitfalls of these approaches;
How current knowledge is being and may potentially be used to improve disease control.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Through using a disease simulation program, students should have developed their ability to interpret factors influencing disease severity and to develop strategies of disease management.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Numeracy : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:309:30Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion41:004:00computer practical assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture191:0019:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading81:008:00Recommended references
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:004:00Computer practicals
Guided Independent StudySkills practice81:008:00Computer practice follow-up homework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study126:3026:30Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study191:0019:00Lecture follow up
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures explain key concepts and outline illustrative examples. The final lecture is a revision session. The computer practicals helps students develop their understanding of epidemiology by using a realistic simulation model to investigate how key variables influence disease severity. Private study is necessary for students to absorb information presented in lectures, to deepen their knowledge and understanding through reading supporting references, and to analyse and report on the results of the computer practicals.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M20Report on Computer Practicals
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam uses essay questions to assess knowledge, understanding and integration of subject material obtained from lectures and additional reading. The computer practical report tests students' ability to obtain, interpret and contextualise data on disease development and effectiveness of control strategies.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 15/16. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.