2 x 2-hour lectures weekly
1 x 50-minute computer lab weekly
50 x 1-hour project works per semester
Topic description
This topic introduces students to the observational and analytical foundations of animal behaviour. Students will learn about key studies in animal behaviour that changed our understanding of animal cognition, psychology, and communication. Key topics that will be explored include the evolution of sex, parental care, conflict and cooperation, the high cost of group living, the evolution of deception and conflict resolution. The review of animal behaviour will identify common behaviour patterns in the animal kingdom that were once considered unique to humans.
Educational aims
Students will have an understanding of the history of ideas that underpin animal behaviour theory. Students will examine and critically evaluate the emergence of ideas that have shaped how we observe and collect data on animal behaviour. Students will synthesise information from the primary literature and present oral presentations to the class each week to complement the core lecture material.
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of the topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the main historical ideas that underpin animal behaviour theory
  2. Critically review hypotheses to explain animal behaviour
  3. Understand different methods for collecting data on animal behaviour
  4. Have advanced their written and oral presentation skills