BIO3052 - Animal behaviour - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

School of Biological Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Bob Wong


Professor Bob Wong

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


BIO2231 and either BIO2242 or BIO2022; or ENV2712 and BIO2752


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 animal behaviour;
  2. Explain how behaviour develops and why it is adaptive;
  3. Evaluate the ways in which the environment shapes adaptive behaviour;
  4. Design, conduct and analyse the results of an extended research project;
  5. Communicate findings to a scientific and a general audience in individual and group settings.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Examination (2 hours): 50%

Project outline: 5%

Project report: 35%

Group poster presentation: 10%

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study