Module Information

Module Identifier
BR30220
Module Title
Advanced Animal Behaviour
Academic Year
2016/2017
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
Pre-Requisite
External Examiners
  • Mrs Caroline Rymer (Senior Research Fellow - University of Reading)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Tutorial 10 x 1 Hour Tutorials
Lecture 33 x 1 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework 1.  15%
Semester Assessment Coursework 2.  25%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   60%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  40%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Describe critically and coherently the importance of behavioural biology in contemporary scientific and lay society

2. Interpret and communicate accurately the findings and limitations of published studies in the primary scientific literature

3. Objectively describe and discuss key theories in the field of animal behaviour

4. Identify future research areas within the topics covered and the potential for collaboration with other branches of science.

Brief description

This module tackles advanced topics of contemporary importance in the field of animal behaviour. A combination of lectures, external speakers, small group discussions and student presentations encourages connections to be made between disparate areas of behavioural research and other disciplines.

Content

The module will include research topics of current importance in behavioural biology. Topics will vary to reflect current trends in research, although recent topics have included: Male & female effects on the evolution of sperm competition; Niche construction & ecosystem engineering; 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. Effect of parasite infections on 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. Behavioural knowledge as a tool in disease control and pest management. Mutual influences of art and behavioural biology.
The module focuses on the importance of critically appraising and accurately reporting the results of scientific studies. It is taught through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, discussion sessions and research seminars provided by internal and external speakers, providing students with a critical knowledge of, and an ability to interpret and discuss, topics in behavioural biology that are of importance in contemporary science.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not a significant element of this module.
Communication Listening skills developed through lectures, seminars and class/small group discussions. Oral and poster presentation skills will be developed and assessed during the semester. Written skills will be developed in the literature review and examinations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. Coursework elements will provide the opportunity for students to explore their own learning styles and preferences.
Information Technology Use of word processing software for literature review preparation. Use of PowerPoint for preparation of oral & poster presentations. Accessing the internet for information sources including use of databases (e.g. Web of Science) to find primary literature.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate behavioural problems, their ability to present these in a variety of formats to and objectively assess the quality of proposed future research.
Problem solving Through lectures and seminars students will become aware of the methods employed in behavioural research. Presentations and written work addressing students' proposals for future research will allow students to gain experience developing hypotheses and designing methods to test them.
Research skills Students will research topics beyond the depth and scope of the lecture material using both recommended reading and independent study. Information from a variety of primary sources will be subjected to critical review and comment. Students will also gather and evaluate information from seminars by guest lecturers.
Subject Specific Skills Ability to critically assess behavioural studies, identify areas ripe for future research and make theoretical connections between disciplines within and outside behavioural biology.
Team work Students will work in small groups during discussion sessions, preparing arguments for debate.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6