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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

Fundamental concepts of animal behaviour are introduced through a series of lectures and practicals, essential knowledge for those interested in better understanding animal behaviour as well as potentially undertaking an animal behaviour Honours project.
During the practicals students are encouraged to reflect on the theoretical knowledge learned during the lectures and apply that in explaining the observed behaviour of animals.
Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of animal behaviour by producing an innovative multimedia presentation on the observed behaviour of a species of their choice

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Lesley Lancaster

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?


What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims: To introduce the scientific investigation of paradigms in behavioural biology, specificially to understand the physiological and ecological basis of behaviour, to apply these bases to a variety of circumstances and environmental challenges that animals encounter, to synthesise behavioural evolution and maintenance into the natural and sexual selection paradigms of biology. Main Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of this course students will have... * Examined the function, causation, development and evolutionary history of an observed behaviour. * Communicated complex concepts in behavioural biology to a general audience. * Interpreted data and applied that to theory related to kin-selection and the evolution of cooperation. * Demonstrated understanding of the concepts underlying behavioural biology. Content: This course introduces the biological basis for animal behaviour, considering how behaviour contributes to survival, the proximate mechanisms of behaviours, behavioural development and evolution. The first part of the course covers regulations, controls and mechanisms; the second part covers developmental, learning and cognitive processes of acquiring behaviour; the third part of the course covers living with others (e.g., reproducing, social systems and communication). The fourth part of the course covers evolutionary aspects of behaviour, including selection processes, evolutionarily stable strategies, and extra-genetic inheritance.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two hour written examination (60%); continuous assessment (40%) Coursework is based on a report on the evolution of co-operation (maximum word limit 1500 words) (20%), and a behavioural challenge which requires the production of a media piece that is presented to class (20%). Resit: Similar to 1st attempt, with continuous assessment mark(s) and /or exam mark carried forward with an opportunity to resit either or both, depending on what was failed in the first attempt.

Formative Assessment

Discussion sessions will provide opportunity for student-student and student-tutor interaction. Formative assessment will be provided during this interaction.


Students will receive written feedback on their report and presentation. Generic feedback will be provided to the class after each assignment to provide guidance on areas to focus on for improvement. Students who are identified as having difficulty in successfully completing the coursework assessment tasks will be invited to meet members of the course team to identify difficulties and discuss solutions.

Course Learning Outcomes


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