Module Information

Module Identifier
BR32710
Module Title
Animal Behaviour Field Course
Academic Year
2017/2018
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
Pre-Requisite
Reading List
External Examiners
  • Dr Peter Hastie (Senior Lecturer - Glasgow University)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Field Trip 1 x 70 Hour Field Trip
Lecture 1 x 2 Hour Lecture
Tutorial 5 x 1 Hour Tutorials
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Presentation 1.  15%
Semester Assessment Presentation 2.  15%
Semester Assessment Presentation 3.  15%
Semester Assessment Presentation 4.  15%
Semester Assessment Report.  30%
Semester Assessment Field notebook.  10%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Formulate and test hypotheses by designing appropriate observation regimes & experiments relating to animal behaviour.

2. Develop classification systems relevant to the collection and storage of behavioural data.

3. Choose & apply appropriate analytical techniques to interpret field data.

4. Suggest avenues for future research based on the findings of their investigations and in the light of relevant published theories and studies.

5. Work as a team to reach goals.

6. Communicate their research findings effectively and concisely.

Brief description

This module will train and assess students in the collection, analysis and presentation of field data to discern what animals do, why they do it and how that behaviour has evolved.

Content

This is a residential course based away from Aberystwyth. The field course is preceded by an introductory session in Aberystwyth outlining the format of the course, the daily schedule, methods of assessment and identifying essential pre-course reading. The course is divided into a number of projects, each preceded by an introduction to the assignment. Students are also required to devise and carry out their own independent project.

The field course will make use of a variety of habitats where students will learn how to handle mammals, birds & insects in the context of behavioural research. Students will work in small groups in tackling assigned projects. Each project will be assessed by one or more of a variety of methods (e.g. written report, poster, video presentation, oral presentation), to be completed during and after the fieldcourse. Students are expected to discuss the data collected in the light of theories raised and knowledge acquired in Module BR21620 (Ethology).

The focus will be on answering Tinbergen's four questions of behaviour (function, causation, development and evolutionary history) by means of a variety of field observations and experiments. Training will be given in diverse data collection, surveying and sampling techniques. Specific behaviour topics will vary according to factors such as annual fluctuations in species abundance and weather conditions but will typically include foraging, predator-prey interactions, mate choice/guarding, decision making, territoriality, communication, as well as measurement & classification of morphological adaptations assoicated with particular behaviours.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Data collection, statistical analysis (parametric & non-parametric), hypothesis testing.
Communication Written reports, oral, poster, video & other presentations prepared, both in teams & individually, and assessed during and after field course.
Improving own Learning and Performance Attendance at lectures, observing demonstrations & participation in practical sessions (problem-based learning). Reflective learning through small group discussions and feedback on assessments.
Information Technology Use of statistical programmes (e.g. Minitab) in data analysis; use of Powerpoint for presentations; Use of spreadsheets, graphing (e.g. Excel) and word processing software for data organisation, analysis & presentation. Use of internet for gathering of data (for analysis) and information to help develop initial ideas and to put results in appropriate context prior to presentation/assessment.
Personal Development and Career planning Reflective learning & group discussions after each project. Skills learned will have value for subsequent careers in conservation, animal behaviour and related fields. Generic skills (data analysis, report preparation, oral & poster presentations) applicable to a wide range of careers.
Problem solving Students will identify research questions, design & implement observational & experimental field studies aimed at finding answers to their research questions.
Research skills Design & implementation of observational & experimental field studies including data collection, animal handling, trapping, surveying techniques, statistical analysis, report writing and a variety of presentation styles throughout field course. Critical assessment of scientific literature to underpin reports.
Subject Specific Skills Field surveying, animal handling, sound recording/playback, behavioural observation & experimentation in the field.
Team work Projects undertaken in small groups. Goals of group determined as a team, allocation of tasks within groups. Data collection, analysis and presentation of results completed as a team.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6