BIOL572-19B (HAM)

Animal Behaviour

15 Points

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Division of Health Engineering Computing & Science
School of Science

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: cheryl.ward@waikato.ac.nz

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  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
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Paper Description

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This 15 point paper is to provide students with an understanding of contemporary approaches to the study of Animal Behaviour, exploring recent literature on (1) the function of behaviour, (2) the evolutionary history of behaviour, (3) the development of behaviour, and (4) the mechanisms of behaviour. Special attention will be devoted to developing an appreciation of experimental design and fostering an ability to think critically about research questions.

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Paper Structure

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Students will attend eight 2-hour seminar-style classes, present two seminars themselves, and complete associated readings and assessments. Introductory sessions will explain the course philosophy and review how the contemporary field of Animal Behaviour is structured. Students will then participate in seminars on 'ultimate causes': one focusing on the function of behaviour, and the other focusing on evolutionary histories. The students will then be required to present their own short seminar on ultimate explanations for behaviour. In the second section of the course, students will participate in seminars on 'proximate causes': one focusing on the development of behaviour, and two on behavioural mechanisms. Once again, the students will be required to present their own seminars on a proximate issue of interest to them. The course will end with an informal 'wrap-up' session involving all course participants.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Develop a sound understanding of how the field of Animal Behaviour is structured with respect to the ultimate/proximate distinction, and Tinbergen’s four research themes.
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  • Evaluate examples of cutting edge, contemporary research on the development, mechanisms, function, and evolutionary history of behaviour.
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  • Demonstrate an ability to think critically and creatively about issues in Animal Behaviour.
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  • Develop an appreciation for sound experimental design and problem solving in the behavioural sciences.
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Assessment

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There will be FOUR modes of assessment: (1) student contributions to discussions during the six formal sessions presented by academic staff (10% of final mark); (2) independent student PowerPoint presentations on ‘Ultimate Causes’ (Student Seminar 1) and ‘Proximate Causes’ (Student Seminar 2) (10% per seminar = 20%); (3) a Literature Review (c. 3,000-3500 words) exploring an issue of special interest to the student within the field of Animal Behaviour (20%); and (4) a final exam (50%). Thus, the ‘course work:final exam’ ratio is 50:50.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 50% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 50% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Student seminars 1 - Ultimate causes
13 Aug 2019
1:00 PM
10
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Presentation: In Class
2. Student seminars 2 - Proximate causes
24 Sep 2019
1:00 PM
10
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Presentation: In Class
3. Student contributions to discussions
10
  • In Class: In Lecture
4. Literature Review
11 Oct 2019
4:30 PM
20
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Hand-in: Faculty Information (FG Link)
5. Exam
50
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Reading material for each seminar will be provided the week prior to the seminar, via Moodle.
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Online Support

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This paper has a Moodle page (http://elearn.waikato.ac.nz) where you will be able to access PDF files of lecture notes, some readings, and assessment materials.

Please note: Moodle will be used for class notices etc. and it is your responsibility to check the site regularly. Instructions provided on Moodle and in lectures are considered to be given to the class as a whole.
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Workload

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Taught seminars attendance: 16 h
Readings for formal seminars: 36 h
Student seminars: 23 h
Literature Review: 25 h
Exam preparation: 50 h

These figures are approximations only, as papers vary in their requirements and students vary in both the amount of effort required and the level of grades they wish to achieve.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Conservation Biology (BIOL573)

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Prerequisite(s)

Prerequisites: BIOL333

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted papers: BIOL533

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