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Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
UAB Barcelona Summer School

Diseases of Marine Mammals


The subject will be dedicated to a general description of the main diseases and threats that affect cetaceans (dolphins and whales) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) in the world. The course will review the main conditions that affect these species, with an interdisciplinary view, ordered etiologically (bacterial, viral, parasitic, anthropogenic and other non-infectious problems).  

It will include theoretical and practical sessions. The theoretical classes will cover the core knowledge of the different diseases and conditions, including aetiology, pathogenesis, clinical signs and lesions, and diagnostic procedures, and impact on the populations. Diseases will be described using specific individual cases with archive material and images. Information will be extended with basic references and chapters on each topic, made available to the students one or several days in advance to discussion in the class.  

Methodological aspects will also be taught, with introduction to the different methodologies of disease detection and investigation of specific causes of death. As part of the practical training, a full necropsy of a dolphin (frozen and thawed for the course) will be performed by the students at the necropsy room of the Veterinary Faculty. Information on diseases will be complemented with practical lectures using the microscope and visualizing slides of specific diseases at the microscopy laboratory. 

Courses generally have little or no prerequisite knowledge required for a given topic, however if students face any doubts, we recommend they contact course professors to clarify.

Additional information