• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology

This is an Honours Pathway Course that is normally taken at the same time as BIOL3131, and deals with carrying out research on the behavioural ecology of free-living animals. Students will work in tutorial groups to develop hypotheses about behaviour that will be tested during a week-long field trip. Results are then presented in a poster at the course's conference; and in a report in the form of a scientific paper. The course emphasises the design and effective reporting of scientific research, and will expose students to all of the stages of carrying out and reporting original research.

Research topics have included: 

  • Anti-predator behaviour in kangaroos, parrots and emus
  • Foraging behaviour of antlions and bees
  • Habitat segregation in birds
  • Sex differences in plumage and vigilance
  • Social structure of fairy-wrens
  • Social foraging in seagulls
  • Sex differences in foraging in oystercatchers
  • Song and alarm calls in birds
  • Schooling behaviour of fish

A quota may be placed on enrolments for this course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will have developed knowledge and skills related to the practice of research. These will include:1. Literature skills to identify the current state of knowledge about a specific research question in behavioural ecology
2. Formulation of testable hypotheses based on an understanding of the research literature
3. Practical skills in behavioural ecological research
4. Ability to collaborate as a group to reach research goals
5. Skills in scientific communication, including written communication and the preparation of a research poster
6. Ability to interpret data against original hypotheses and knowledge of the literature, and suggest avenues for future research

Other Information

Field Trip: As an indication, the cost to students for the 5 days field trip during 11-15 April will be about $200.

The Biology Teaching and Learning Centre is located in Building 116. Alternatively you can email rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Individual written introduction to a research problem (15%; LO 1, 2, 5)
  • Participation in the group's research effort (10%; LO 3, 4)
  • Group poster presented at class 'Conference' (25%; LO 4, 5)
  • Individual research paper based on the whole semester's project (50%; LO 1, 2, 5, 6)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Five-day field trip to Kioloa during 11-15 April plus a 1-2 hour class meeting each week, plus weekly meeting with a project tutor, plus group meetings independent of tutors. Overall, about 60-65 hours of contact with teaching staff, plus group and individual time.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL6010

You will need to contact the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

To undertake this course BIOL3131 must be taken concurrently (or completed previously).



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
3250 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions