Two core philosophies underlie the second edition of ‘Parasitism’, co-authored with my brother, Tim and with Jerry Esch. The first is that the complex interactions that occur between parasites and their hosts - from the molecular cross-talk that occurs at the host/parasite interface, to the effects of parasites on host communities - are fundamentally ecological. The second is that a real appreciation for the phenomenon of parasitism requires knowledge of how natural selection has shaped parasite life cycles, life histories, and morphologies to solve particular problems associated with the parasitic lifestyle. Thus, for senior undergraduates that are being introduced to the phenomenon of parasitism in animals, the three of us continue to see a need for a single text with dual focus on the biodiversity and ecology/evolution of parasites. This dual focus, under one cover, is the hallmark of the text. The 17 chapters, 8 of which are new since the first edition, have been thoroughly revised to meet the needs of a new generation of parasitology students, whether their interest is in ecology, conservation biology, evolution, immunology, or health sciences.
I use our textbook in my senior class, 'Parasitism'. Prior to the publication of our text, I used readings from the primary literature as background for students. I felt that the 1st edition of Parasitism was too outdated and that other options that were available placed emphasis on systematics and/or pathology - rather than on unifying and conceptual principles. The focus on primary literature had advantages, but I had always felt that students found it cumbersome to rely on literature that varied so extensively in style, writing clarity, and overall approach.
My class runs over a standard, 13-week semester. The lab requirement restricts the maximum number of students to 20. The format of the class is such that students read a chapter prior to the Tuesday class, the start of which requires students to complete a 10-minute quiz. I then use a standard lecturing format that emphasizes the key conceptual framework within each chapter. During Wednesday labs the next day, students get hands-on familiarity with particular parasite taxa, or later in the semester, we complete empirical experiments and modelling exercises. The Thursday class takes a discussion format, during which we cover key questions/controversies that arise within each chapter. Overall, the incorporation of the text into the class has allowed me to reach a depth and breadth of coverage that I did not reach in prior offerings.
An example review of Goater et al (2014) is provided in the link below, together with an advertisement flyer.