Syllabus for Behavioural Ecology


A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1BG319
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2007-03-15
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Revised: 2015-04-15
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2015
  • Entry requirements:

    150 credits complete courses including alternative 1) 60 credits biology and 30 credits chemistry or 30 credits earth sciences; alternative 2) 90 credits biology. In both cases, the biology should contain 15 credits intermediate course in Ecology.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

All animals are selected to pay close attention to the behaviour of others, be it conspecifics, prey or predators. The course treats these behaviours as evolved characters with a survival and a reproductive value. After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • account for and critically evaluate theories and models for sexual selection, foraging, mating and life history strategies, sociality, predation, speciation, personality and communication
  • handle and present current problems in behavioural ecology, in writing as well as orally
  • carry out and present practical studies in behavioural ecology
  • independently and critically review scientific texts and theories
  • identify and in a structured way discuss ethical issues related to animal testing.


Sexual reproduction, ways of reproducing, and sexual selection. Models for sexual selection, foraging, alternative mating and life history strategies, cooperation and personality. The relationship between sexual selection and speciation, life history, sexual conflict and partner manipulation. The relationship between life history theory, energy use, predation and survival. The evolution of communication and design of signals. Orientation in current behavioural ecology research, with an aim to prepare for research.


Teaching consists of lectures, group exercises (labs and computer exercises), group seminars and group as well as independent literature assignments. Independent work as well as discussions and group exercises make up an important part of the course. The course includes handling and presenting behavioural ecology problems in writing as well as orally, and independently and critically reviewing scientific texts and theories . Participation in group exercises, seminars and literature assignments are compulsory. The course employs integrated communication training with feedback and self-assessment.


Modules: Theory 10 credits; Exercise 5 credits.

The module exercises require an active participation in group as well as independent assignments. The course ends with a written examination.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2015

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Alcock, John Animal behavior : an evolutionary approach

    10th ed.: Sunderland, Mass., U.S.A.: Sinauer Associates, c2013

    Find in the library


Last modified: 2022-04-26