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BIO2013 : Animal Behaviour

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Lucy Asher
  • Lecturer: Dr Catherine Douglas
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The study of animal behaviour is a large discipline encompassing both the mechanisms and evolutionary functions of the ways that animals interact with their environment and with each other. This module provides the student with a comprehensive introduction to the scientific approach to studying, quantifying, and interpreting animal behaviour. Lectures focus on examples from the literature which illustrate important principles of animal behaviour taking both a mechanistic and a behavioural ecology approach. Practicals enable the students to design, conduct, analyse, and interpret scientific experiments using lab-based assays of animal behaviour.

Outline Of Syllabus

The topics covered in this module include:

* Introduction to the study of animal behaviour
* Evolutionary and immediate causes of behaviour including neural and physiological mechanisms of behaviour
* Major themes in animal behaviour which may include sexual selection, mating systems, parental care, foraging, predator-prey interaction, group living, human influence
* Methods for studying animal behaviour, including data analysis and scientific hypothesis testing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion141:0014:00Formative tests through University VLE
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Formative feedback on practical write up
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Formative write up of practical
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion122:0022:00Revision for examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:307:00Lecture preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Revision session
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Laboratory and video clips
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:004:00Laboratory and video clips
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study142:0028:00Follow up directed reading and further reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Information for students will be provided by lectures with additional directed reading and by practicals. The lectures will provide students with a framework for theoretical interpretation of animal behaviour with examples, from both a physiological and an evolutionary perspective. The practicals will provide students with knowledge of techniques to measure animal behaviour and experience of experimental design, recording analysis, and reporting of animal behaviour.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A100N/A
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1MFormative tests
Practical/lab report1MFormative practical write up
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The final written examination will assess the knowledge and ability to understand and relate the main concepts covered in the course. Completing the practical write-up will develop the skills needed to design, analyse, and interpret a simple study of behaviour. The MCQ style questions are to help students assimilate taught material.
Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period. Study Abroad students should contact the school if they would like an early exam.

Reading Lists