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This subject explores how natural and sexual selection have shaped the intriguing and often bizarre behaviours of animals. Topics include resource competition, predator avoidance, communication, mate choice, parental care, cooperation, sexual conflict, and the role of genes, hormones and learning in shaping behavioural diversity. We evaluate the scientific rigour of studies used to test theory, and highlight the often ingenious methods adopted by researchers to understand animal behaviour.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should demonstrate:
- the ability to articulate a proximate (mechanistic) or ultimate (evolutionary) perspective on any aspect of animal behaviour;
- an understanding of the diversity of experimental and manipulative approaches available for the study of animal behaviour, and the ability to apply an appropriate approach to an unfamiliar problem;
- the ability to explain an aspect of animal behaviour to different audiences in written, spoken or audiovisual format;
- the ability to articulate different forms of biological data and how to make inferences from them;
- the ability to conduct an effective literature search and synthesise findings and critique a given topic in animal behaviour;
- the ability to design an effective experiment; and
- preparedness for the workplace through experience participating in group projects.
This subject builds upon existing generic skills, including the ability to:
- assimilate and critically evaluate new knowledge within a scientific paradigm; and
- communicate that knowledge to a broad audience.
Last updated: 1 March 2024