AN BEHAV 2000RW - Foundations of Animal Behaviour

Roseworthy Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

This course will provide students with a contemporary overview of the multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of animal behaviour. It will cover subject areas such as the genetic and neurobiological bases of behaviour, cognition, learning and memory, evolutionary and behavioural ecology, as well as their applied aspects. Major categories of behaviour such as foraging, predation, reproductive and social behaviour will be discussed. Practical sessions provide an opportunity to learn how to record, quantify and model animal behaviour.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code AN BEHAV 2000RW
    Course Foundations of Animal Behaviour
    Coordinating Unit School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Roseworthy Campus
    Units 3
    Contact up to 6 hrs per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Successful completion of 24 units of an undergraduate program
    Restrictions Available to BSc (Animal Behaviour), Bachelor of Veterinary Technology, BPsySci, BHMS students only
    Assessment Practical report, online quizzes, major assignment, final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Camille Buhl

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Describe the major categories of animal behaviour, their underlying mechanisms and evolutionary framework
    2. Observe, record and quantify animal behaviour
    3. Formulate a hypothesis about animal behaviour to perform data analysis and statistics on animal behaviour
    4. Compare and contrast different disciplinary approaches to animal behaviour
    5. Clearly communicate thoughts and understanding orally and in writing
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will provide a mixture of lectures, online materials, workshops, tutorials and practical classes.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g.,lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    There is a series of lectures that cover the different approaches to animal behaviour (including developmental, genetic, neurobiological and evolutionary bases of behaviour) as well as a range of specific behaviour such as foraging, migration, predation, reproductive and social behaviour. Both fundamental and applied aspects are covered.

    Practical sessions include creating an ethogram, performing data analysis on recordings of behaviour, measuring learning and memory in mice, studying foraging and nutrition in horses, and modelling animal collective behaviour. Students will also prepare a research proposal based on their own preliminary observations and for which there will be walk-in sessions to work on the project and receive help and feedback on the progress of the project.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Hurdle
    Learning Outcome Approximate timing of assessment (week of teaching period)
    Online practical quizzes Summative 10% No 1, 2, 3 Weeks 1, 3, 8, 10 & 12
    Online formative quizzes Summative 0% No 1, 3, 4 Weeks 2, 3, 4 & 5
    Observation of animal behaviour Summative 10% No 2, 5 Week 3
    Feedback on major assignment, opportunity to refine project Formative 0% No 1, 3, 4 Weeks 3 & 6
    Oral practical report on learning and memory Summative 5% No 2, 3, 5 Week 4
    Data analysis in groups Summative 10% No 2, 3, 5 Week 6
    Major assignment Summative 25% No 1, 3, 4 Week 9
    Final examination Summative 40% No 1, 3, 4 Exam period
    Assessment Detail
    Online practical quizzes (10%): for some practical sessions, the students will have to complete online quizzes testing their understanding of the topics that these sessions cover.

    Observation of animal behaviour (10%):
    students will observe animal behaviour on existing video recording, establish an ethogram and use it to quantify behaviour.

    Oral practical report on learning and memory (5%): student groups will give a 5-10min oral presentation in front of the rest of the class to describe the results of simple learning and memory experiments performed during the practical.

    Data analysis in groups (10%): students work in groups to perform basic data analysis and statistics in order to interpret quantitative animal behaviour data. This analysis will be submitted as a short report per group.

    Major assignment (25%): Students will write an individual report on a small project which they will have developed over the semester. In this project, they will formulate a simple hypothesis about an animal behaviour, perform preliminary observations or experiments before designing a research project proposal.

    Final Examination (40%): an end-of-semester written examination will be used to assess the understanding of all components of the course.
    Late Submission:

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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