ANIM3365 Behavioural Ecology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Zoology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit covers the broad area of behavioural ecology—how an animal's behaviour is adapted to its physical and social environment. The unit comprises five broad sections: (1) foundations of behavioural ecology; (2) sexual selection; (3) perception and signaling; (4) kinship, conflict, cooperation and (5) predator-prey interactions. The unit integrates these themes within an evolutionary framework that explores individual plasticity and the genetic basis of behaviour, along with a strong mechanistic basis of how perceptual systems work (e.g. vision which will set limits to behavioural capacity). Lectures are complemented by a practical component to develop skills in review and critique of the primary literature and the development of research skills. During a literature review exercise, students are guided through tutorials to locate and read original journal articles, make use of standard reference texts and online resources, and understand basic ideas and models in behavioural ecology. Students also undertake a research project to develop skills in experimental design, data collection and analysis. In both exercises (literature review and research project), students communicate their findings through formal scientific reports and short PowerPoint presentations.
Students are able to (1) understand major ideas in behavioural ecology; (2) develop research skills including experimental design, data collection, analysis and interpretation; (3) evaluate, critique, synthesise and understand the primary literature in behavioural ecology; and (4) learn to communicate clearly and concisely, demonstrating comprehension of the subject.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a two-hour end-of-semester examination; (2) written and oral report on a case study; and (3) a report on a research project written as a scientific paper. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Jonathan Evans and Associate Professor Joseph Tomkins
Unit rules
ANIM2207 Animal Function and Structure
ENVT2250 Ecology
ANIM3364 Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, ANIM3304 Behavioural Ecology
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; discussion groups: 5 hours—1 hour per week (from week 1); assessment briefings: 2 x 2 hour sessions; oral presentations: 2 x 3 hours; statistics workshop: 1 hour
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.