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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Bob Wong


This unit deals with several key areas of animal behaviour. We investigate animal communication systems, with particular emphasis on how signals are produced, transmitted and received, their information content and how they are sometimes used in social manipulation. We then go on to explore the way in which behaviour develops during the animal's early life and the various influences that shape this development before moving on to examine the genetic regulation of behaviour, how behaviour evolves and how we can use comparative methods to study this process. The rest of the unit is then devoted to behavioural ecology which deals with the role of behaviour in the animal's interactions with its environment and the ways in which the environment shapes adaptive behaviour on an evolutionary time scale. Topics covered in this area include foraging and anti-predator behaviour, social organisation, mating systems and parental care.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. describe the mechanisms underlying behaviour;
  2. use examples to explain how behaviour develops and why it is adaptive;
  3. design, conduct and analyse the results of an extended research project, and
  4. effectively communicate findings to a scientific and a general audience in individual and group settings.


Examination (2.5 hours): 50%
Project outline: 5%
Project report: 35%
Group poster presentation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Bob Wong

Contact hours

Two 1-hour lectures and 3 hours practical work per week


12 points from level two BIO units, including BIO2242