Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 3 x 1 hour lectures per week
Seminars / Tutorials 5 x 2 hour seminars/tutorials/workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Literature Review  20%
Semester Assessment Presentation  10%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   70%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed coursework or alternative  30%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   70%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module, students will have covered sufficient material in lectures, tutorials, research seminars and in their recommended reading to enable them to

  • describe critically and coherently the importance of behavioural biology in contemporary scientific and lay society
  • interpret accurately the findings and limitations, and be able to summarise efficiently, the results of published studies
  • identify future research areas and the potential for collaboration with other branches of science.


This module will use a combination of lectures, tutorial sessions and research seminars provided by internal and external speakers to provide students with a critical knowledge of topics in behavioural biology that are of importance in contemporary science. The course will emphasise the growing collaborations between behavioral science and other disciplines. A key aim of the course will be to train students in accurately and critically interpreting the results of behavioural studies.


The module will include research topics of current importance in behavioural biology. Recent topics have included: Male & female effects on the evolution of sperm competition; Ontogeny and the role of the brain in behaviour. The role of behavioural studies in determining the success of habitat restoration and conservation programmes. The role of pollutants on individual behaviour, fitness and population stability. How and why parasite infections alter host behaviour. The evolution of signalling systems (e.g. birdsong). Insights into behaviour gained from technology, including DNA fingerprinting, molecular biology, neurobiology and artificial intelligence. How the welfare of animals in domestic / entertainment environments may be realistically improved using knowledge gained from behavioural studies. Behavioural knowledge as a tool in disease control and pest management. The influence of art on behavioural biology and vice versa. The importance of critically appraising the findings and accurately reporting the results of scientific studies.

Reading List

General Text
Danchin, Etienne. (2008.) Behavioural ecology /Etienne Danchin, Luc-Alain Giraldeau, Frank C ezilly. Oxford University Press Primo search
Recommended Consultation
Arends, Bergit (Oct. 2003) Experiment:Conversations in Art and Science Wellcome Trust, The Primo search Birkhead, Tim R. (Oct. 2008) Sperm Biology:An Evolutionary Perspective Academic Press [Imprint] Primo search Catchpole, Clive. (2008.) Bird song :biological themes and variations /C.K. Catchpole, P.J.B. Slater ; pen-and-ink illustrations by Nigel Mann. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press Primo search Moore, Janice. (2002.) Parasites and the behavior of animals /Janice Moore. Oxford University Press Primo search Odling-Smee, F. John (2003.) Niche construction :the neglected process in evolution /F. John Odling-Smee, Kevin N. Laland, and Marcus W. Feldman. Princeton University Press
Consult For Futher Information
Cobb, Matthew. (2006.) The egg & sperm race :the seventeenth-century scientists who unlocked the secrets of sex, life, and growth /Matthew Cobb. Free Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6