BI3EK7-Behavioural Ecology and Life History Theory

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: BI1EAA1 Ecology and Behaviour
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Richard Sibly


Type of module:

Summary module description:

To be able to research, discuss, and write scientific reviews of selected areas of behavioural ecology

To be able to research, discuss, and write scientific reviews of selected areas of behavioural ecology

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
•describe and discuss critically the state of current research in selected areas, citing key references where necessary
•research and present structured critical reviews

Additional outcomes:
The module will also provide students with an opportunity to develop their written and oral presentational skills during small group seminars.

Outline content:
To understand behavioural ecology it is necessary to understand how life histories evolve. After an introduction describing current understanding of this process, the framework of evolutionary life-history theory is used to tackle selected topics in behavioural ecology. These may include Selfishness and Altruism; Mate Choice; The Evolution of Eusociality; Agent-based Models of Animal Behaviour and Animal Cognition.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures introduce important research questions and set the scene, but students are challenged to seek answers to unresolved questions and to obtain perspective by reading scientific papers reporting important field studies. In the second half of the course, students research and present seminars covering a range of topical issues.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 15
Guided independent study 75
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Two-hour examination

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Assessment of seminar presentation, and performance asking questions of another seminar

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-sit examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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