This topic introduces students to key ideas that have underpinned the study of animal behaviour. Students will gain practical experience in data collection by observing and recording animal behaviour from video and audio recordings in class and in the field. The topic addresses major patterns of animal behaviour including courtship, parental care, aggression, foraging, and communication. Students will explore critical issues for the study of animal behaviour such as captive versus field studies, and the role of animal welfare and ethics for research. Lectures convey the theory of animal behaviour and an overview of techniques to record and analyse animal behaviour, with a one day excursion to observe, collect, and analyse data on animal behaviour in follow-up independent research.
After completing this topic, students will have an understanding of the evolutionary forces that shape animal behaviour. Students will explore critical issues for the study of animal behaviour such as captive versus field studies, and the role of animal welfare and ethics for research. In-class analysis of video and audio data will train students in data collection techniques including instantaneous sampling, one-zero sampling, and continuous recording. Students will gain practical experience from a field excursion to observe and subsequently analyse animal behaviour. Students will gain understanding about the evolutionary framework to interpret major behaviour patterns across a range of organisms.