ANIM3365 Behavioural Ecology

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Zoology; Wildlife Conservation major sequences
  • 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 or 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.