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Advanced Topics in Animal Behaviour - BIO00039H

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Elva Robinson
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19
    • See module specification for other years: 2017-18

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

Animal behaviour affects the key decisions in an animal’s life – when to mate, when and how to forage, whether to raise young or abandon them, whether to fight or flee, whether to cheat or cooperate. These decisions are affected by the social and broader ecological context. With recent advances in both animal tracking (through tags and GPS recorders) and population level genomic information, many of the unknowns of behavioural studies are being revealed. Animal behaviour, and the information we have available about it, has significant consequences for conservation. During this module, a series of research topics, where new types of information are becoming available, will be highlighted. Models of the evolution of behaviour will be explored and primary literature will be used to illustrate core principles in the study of animal behaviour.

Module learning outcomes

  1. To critically interpret the language used in describing and defining behaviour
  2. To evaluate the methodologies used for studying behaviour
  3. To critically assess the value, limitations and applications of models of behaviour
  4. To explain the evolution and fitness (direct and inclusive) of behaviours in their social & ecological contexts


Task Length % of module mark
Open Assessment
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open Assessment
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on your progress is important to your learning process; Stage 3 and 4 scripts are not returned to you, but you will be given feedback on your January examinations by the middle of the spring term and will also have an opportunity to view the examiners’ comments on your scripts at the end of the spring and summer terms.

Module marks are made available to both you and your supervisor via your eVision account as soon as the marks are available, by week 6 of the spring term and week 8 of the summer term. You are expected to discuss your performance and progress with your supervisor in your mid-spring term and end of summer term supervisory meetings.

A histogram of all module marks is produced and posted on the examinations notice board outside Biology Student Services.

Specimen answers are posted on the web: by comparing the specimen answers with your own, you should obtain a clear idea of what was expected of you. For each module the markers will also give general feedback on how well the questions were answered and point out any standard errors that students may have made.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.