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Agricultural & Medical Acarology (11:370:355)

View Syllabus (154k PDF)

  1. Semester: Fall
  2. Period: Tuesdays and Thursdays (2:00-3:20 p.m.)
  3. Credits: 3
  4. Pre-requisites and Other Registration Restrictions: 01:119:115/116 General Biology I and II
  5. Text: There is no required text. Materials from a variety of sources will be provided each week, including an outline of the notes for the class.


Acarology is a scientific discipline that studies mites and ticks. The goals of this course are to learn the biology, diversity and phylogeny of this taxon as well as the economic impact that mites have in agriculture and human health. Lastly, we will review different approaches to control and minimize their impact. The course will have 3 different parts:

  1. iBasic structure and Function of Mites: We will discuss topics including morphology, feeding, excretion, water balance, muscle system, respiration, nervous system, circulatory system, life cycle, diapause, dispersal, reproduction, genetic and sex determination.
  2. Diversity and lifestyles: Mites and ticks are a diverse group that is very well adapted to different environments. We will review plant-feeding mites, mites that prey on other mice, soil mites and animal and human ectoparasites mites among others.
  3. Agriculture and public health impact of mites: We will cover mites that are human and agricultural pests or vector diseases as well as species that are beneficial.

Learning Goals

Assignments/Responsibilities, Grading, and Assessment

Assignments are expected before due date. Fail to comply with the due date will result in a zero on the assignment. Assignments can be directly turn in, printed, in class or in my office (Thompson Hall, room 130). If you are unable to turn in a printed copy before the due date you can send it by email to Nonetheless, you are still required to provide a printed copy of your assignment. All assignments must have a title and your name.


Attendance and participation (20%)

Attendance is mandatory (take advantage of it; 20% of your final grade relays on attendance and participation). Thus, you should be on time and ready for discussion (I expect lively class discussions). Thus, assignments such as readings are mandatory and are expected to be done in preparation for class discussions.

The students' course progression will be assessed by short quizzes at the beginning of each class and by examining their oral and written ability to respond to the topics introduced in the classroom. Therefore, participation in discussions in class is highly encourage.

Midterm exams (35%)

The midterm exam will roughly count 1/3 of the final grade and will cover the topics and assignments described in the first 15 lectures. The midterm exam will consist of a multiple option text (70%) and short questions (30%).

Final exam (45%)

The final exam is comprised of multiple-choice test (80%) and two short question (20%).


Assessment of individual learning goals will be performed through classroom assessment techniques at the beginning of each class. In addition, there will be a midterm exam that will summarize the learning goals acquired in the first part of the course. To evaluate acquisition of learning goal that are complex or interrelated (for example biology of mites, chemical control and strategy design for pest control in agriculture) students will present in class case studies.

  1. Creating and implementing Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs).
    1. Discussion: 10 min discussion on the main topics taught in the previous class. Student's responses will be analyze and group them into categories "good understanding", "some understanding" significant misunderstanding" I will reinforce the concepts that according to the results are confusing for students and will create specific activities to ensure that students improved their understanding on the subject.
    2. Rapid fire: A set of short questions on topics already introduced in class and related to the new material that will be presented.
  2. Creating Assignments.
    1. Student's presentation on case studies. Students will have to present in class a resolved case study facilitated by the professor. In order to solve the case study, students will have to apply and connect different concepts presented in class. Students will have rubric with performance criteria such as clarity of presentation, argument, evidence etc…a performance level indicate the level of mastery within each criterion.
  3. Midterm exam and Final exam. Exams will identify what courses objectives will be measured.
    1. Midterm exam. This exam assesses the ability of the student to connect the biological aspects of mites with their agricultural impact and control. The student should be capable of explaining different strategies for pest control (Cultural, biological, etc…) as well as factors that affect the effectivity of each type of control.
    2. Final exam. This exam assesses the ability of the student to connect the biological aspects of ticks with their impact in public health. The student should be capable of explaining the epidemiology of different tick-borne diseases and how they relate to the biological cycle of the tick. The student should be capable of identifying the most prominent sign and symptoms of the most common tick-borne diseases as well as methods for prevention, control and treatment.


Álvaro Toledo
Thompson Hall, Room 130
Office Hours: Open