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Calendar Description  

An examination of the biological basis of animal behaviour including the genetics and development of behaviour, mate choice, communication and social behaviour.

Course Objectives

This course seeks answers to questions about why animals behave as they do. Lectures will focus on the alternative ways to approach questions of animal behaviour. This includes perspectives aimed at determining the mechanisms responsible for behaviour as well as those focusing on the adaptiveness and evolution of behaviour. Labs will consist of various exercises in observing and experimentally manipulating animal behaviour to test hypotheses about its causes and functions. 

Course / Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, the student should understand how the methods of science can be applied to the study the behaviour animals in captivity or in the wild. Moreover, students will appreciate how a scientific approach to animal behaviour permits a fuller understanding of why an animal’s behaviour has the form it does. Students should be able to apply their understanding to issues concerning human behaviour and the welfare of animals. 


BIOL 1110/1210 or 1110/1250 and 1250L (C minimum). BIOL 2150/2250/2340 recommended.

Recommended Text

Alcock, J. Animal Behaviour. 10th Ed. Sinauer.

Additional Readings

Selected journal articles and popular science articles will be linked on moodle.

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