• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Biology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Iliana Medina Guzman
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course 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 you 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

Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but will have modified assessment.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

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 and critically evaluate 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 oral and 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 9-13 April 2017 will be around $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 (5%; 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 (40%; LO 1, 2, 5, 6)
  • Literature review of a broader or related area in which project carried out (20%; LO 1, 5)

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 in 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 BIOL3132

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


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:
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
2017 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4878
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3607 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

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