BIO3044 : Behavioural Ecology
- Offered for Year: 2019/20
- Module Leader(s): Dr Colin Tosh
- Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 1 Credit Value:||10|
Behavioural ecology aims to assess the effects of evolutionary and environmental factors on animal behaviour. This module will investigate the selective pressures that can lead to different adaptations in different ecological environments and asks why animals behave in the way they do: What factors influence where and what an animal chooses to eat? Why do some animals mate for life whilst others are promiscuous? Can an animal be optimistic or pessimistic and how does this affect its survivability?
By studying behaviour we can also determine the welfare of an individual and use this to assess potential impact on a population and the broader ecological landscape. We will use real life examples of how studying animal behaviour can develop our understanding of animal welfare and how we can use this to determine the most appropriate conservation and management practices.
Outline Of Syllabus
The lectures will focus around wildlife particularly mammals (land and aquatic) and birds with reference to other groups where applicable (e.g. reptiles, fish).
• Introduction: Why is behavioural ecology important?
• Basic physiology underpinning behaviours
• Measures of behaviour and welfare
• Evolution of cognition of behaviour
• Foraging behaviours
• Predators/prey (including communication, physical characteristics, dynamics, interactions)
• Sexual selection (mate choice, polygamy, monogamy)
• Group living (including communication, cooperation, conflict, altruism and parental care)
• Social learning
• Animal personality – differences in species and individuals
• Animal welfare and ethics
• Case studies of measuring behaviour and welfare in the field and captivity
• Case studies of how behavioural monitoring can influence the conservation techniques used to protect a species and environment
• Interpretation of data – issues and challenges
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||7:30||7:30||Lab report preparation|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||15:00||15:00||Essay preparation|
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||1||1:30||1:30||Written Examination|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||10||1:00||10:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||12||2:00||24:00||Directed reading|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Small group teaching||2||1:00||2:00||Seminars|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||1||22:00||22:00||Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||12||0:30||6:00||Exam revision|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||2||1:00||2:00||Seminar preparation|
|Guided Independent Study||Independent study||10||1:00||10:00||Lecture follow-up|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
The lectures will provide the basic theoretical framework for the course, and introduce students to current concepts and ideas in behavioural ecology. They will use recent data to support these ideas, and provide students with fundamental knowledge of the subject area.
The seminars will provide students with an opportunity to discuss current issues in behavioural ecology and use what they have learned in the lectures. Seminars will be based upon group problem-solving and will help students to develop fluency in interpreting data within a theoretical framework.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Written exercise||1||M||20||Essay 1000 words|
|Practical/lab report||1||M||30||Lab report. Maximum 2000 words|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
The written examination is used to assess what the students have learned from lectures, seminars and independent study: knowledge, independent learning and understanding of material relevant to the module; gathering of information from a variety of sources; understanding and application of theoretical concepts; critical evaluation of arguments and evidence; the ability to communicate effectively in writing; understanding and articulation of critical issues in behavioural ecology; understanding and interpretation of primary research data in a wider theoretical context; the ability for critical thought and original approach.
Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.