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Current topics in the study of animal behaviour with an emphasis on empirical tests of theoretical issues. Topics vary from year to year but include sexual selection, foraging strategies, parental care and parasitism, problem solving and animal cognition.
This course will examine a variety of current subjects in behavioural research. Seminars will be structured around the discussion of assigned papers. Topics of seminars will include such things as sexual selection, parasitism, animal cognition and animal navigation. Marks will be based on a written review, presentations during each seminar and a final exam.Recommended preparatory course(s): BIOL355, BIOL377, BIOL378, BIOL371, BIOL373 and/or BIOL383
As a student in this course, I will develop the ability to:Understand the theoretical basis of animal behaviour and to use this knowledge (and that from literature readings) to propose novel hypotheses to explain the evolution of animal behaviour (assessment task: final exam)Prepare summaries of scientific papers from the literature and present these to the class orally (assessment: handouts for all seminars)Write a critical review of a topic in animal behaviour using the primary scientific literature (assessment task: written literature review) Transferable Skills RegisterAs a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:The ability to read the primary scientific literature critically (In each seminar you will be asked to read a number of papers from scientific journals. These will then be discussed in depth during the seminar, including critiques of the author’s approach, their methods, and their interpretation. We will also discuss how the questions might be researched more appropriately)The ability to read a scientific paper and present your understanding (and critique) of the work orally to the class (Students will be required to search for at least one additional paper, on top of those assigned by the lecturer, to present to the class during each seminar. These presentations are done informally over 5-10 minutes, but provide students with the opportunity to lead the discussion and explain the study to others)Writing a comprehensive review of a subject (Conducting a research project first requires a thorough understanding of the field. One must first know what has been done previously, and to have considered the work critically, before progressing onto new work. As part of this course, students will be required to write a literature review on a topic of their choice. This review will require extensive independent reading of the scientific literature, and the ability to summarise this information in a concise and critical fashion).
Subject to approval of the Head of School.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
TextbooksThere is no textbook for this course. You will be assigned a series of readings from the scientific literature. The readings will be listed (on Learn) by the lecturers at the appropriate time in the seminar schedule, but at least one week before the seminar. Students are expected to have read the material, and to be prepared to discuss the papers by the start of each seminar.
Library portalLearn Site
Domestic fee $1,114.00
International Postgraduate fees
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
School of Biological Sciences