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Coral From the Inside Out: Comparative Histopathology

Course Numbers: OCMB - 6460, MEVS - 5150, and BMME - 8040

This course presents the microscopic anatomy of scleractinian corals and gorgonians (Phylum Cnidaria, Class Anthozoa) to support studies on their ecology, physiology, reproduction, biochemistry, systematics, molecular biology/genetics, immunology, embryology, and pathology. Topics covered include histology, coral diseases, sample collection, preservation, processing, and histoslide preparation (lecture and discussion only, no laboratory), and slide reading of healthy and diseased specimens using light microscopy and virtual microscopy. The course begins with online readings and research, and then students will meet at NSUOC for one week of fultime lecture and laboratory sessions. This summer only: Auditing students may meet with Dr. Peters in Hawaii at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium for one week of lectures, workshops, paper presentations, and discussion sessions. Participants may bring histoslides from their own research to share with the group and discuss with Dr. Peters.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the microscopic structure of cnidarian cells and tissues.
  • Relate their structure and composition to metabolic function and organismal processes.
  • Compare the microscopic anatomy of different anthozoan species.
  • Understand pathobiology concepts and investigations.
  • Describe the histological techniques used to prepare tissue sections for microscopic examination.
  • Distinguish diseased tissue from tissue that is within normal limits.
  • Identify diverse symbionts and their roles in the holobiont (viruses, bacteria, protozoa, algae, fungi, metazoans).
  • Appreciate the value of histology to inform various fields of scientific investigation and contribute to our understanding of coral reef ecosystems.



D. Cui, W. Daley, J. Fratkin, D. Haines, et al. (2010) Atlas of Histology with Functional and Clinical Correlations. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

ISBN-13: 978-0781797597

ISBN-10: 0781797594

Summer 2016 Syllabus

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