- Code BIOL6631
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Biology
- Areas of interest Evolution and Ecology, Biology
In 2023, this course is on campus with remote adjustments only for participants with unavoidable travel restrictions/visa delays.
Our aim in this course is to introduce you to the logic of thinking about the process of adaptation. We will do this by addressing a number of key controversies in behavioural ecology, the study of how natural selection shapes the behaviour of animals. Our lectures are in five modules that cover key topics: the trade-off between survival and reproduction, the principles of animal communication, the evolution of cooperation, evolutionary arms races, and the perils of sex. We consider such questions as: How do animals balance the need to get food yet avoid predators? Can animals lie? Why are males usually bad parents? Why don’t parents produce only daughters? Why are animals choosy when mating? We will emphasise the importance of behavioural ecology to conservation. If we know the predictors of fitness for individuals, we can better predict population growth and responses to environmental change. Behavioural ecology provides the holistic understanding needed for practical conservation. ANU has a word-class behavioural ecology group, and we include our current research alongside that carried out worldwide. Our overall aim is to help you develop a logical approach to understand and test any question in evolutionary biology.
Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates, but also have additional components and assessment.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Recognise when behaviour poses difficulties for accepted wisdom and theory.
- Think strategically about how to formulate and test adaptive hypotheses.
- Communicate problems and their solutions to both the public and other scientists.
- Read the literature critically to assimilate views on new findings and present these in writing.
- Carry out independent literature research.
- Understand and explain how knowledge about animal behaviour can translate into conservation action.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
- Literature assignment (25) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Essay (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Practical exercises (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
- Final examination (45) [LO 1,2,3]
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The expected workload will consist of up to 130 hours including:
- Face-to face component which may consist of 2-3 hours of lectures per week, 4 x 3-hour practical sessions throughout the semester.
- Approximately 82 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations, group work reports and other assessment tasks.
Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.
Not yet determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
You will need to contact the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
Davies, N.B., Krebs, J.R. & West, S.A. 2012 An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology 4th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
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