Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Animal behaviour includes the ways animals interact with other living things, each other and their environment. Students will gain knowledge of the principles and current theoretical issues within the field. The course models the process of conducting scientific research in the field of animal behaviour from hypothesis formulation, to design, sampling, analysis and dissemination of findings. As such, the course encourages skill development in observing behaviour, formulating testable hypotheses, experimental design, data collection and analysis, and the presentation of findings in written scientific format. Further, theoretical instruction provides students with the requisite knowledge to be able to interpret and place their findings within the body of discipline-specific theory.



  • Semester 1 - 2022


  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Apply knowledge of behavioural theory to new situations;

2. Interpret, summarise, validate and critique data from the scientific literature;

3. Work independently to design and execute a scientific study in the discipline area;

4. Formulate a hypothesis and robust experimental design;

5. Collect, analyse and interpret data statistically, and write a scientific paper based on data

6. Critically evaluate the work of peers.


Proximate causes and ultimate function of behaviour, measuring behaviour, experimental design, sampling techniques, physiological basis of behaviour, molecular biology and genetic influences, neurobiology endocrine systems, the development of behaviour ontogeny, experience and learning, the adaptive nature of behaviour, antipredator behaviour, spatial orientation, communication foraging sociality and group living, territoriality, dispersal, migration, co-operation, altruism and kin selection, sexual selection, mating systems, parental care strategies, the art of scientific writing and peer review.


This course replaces BIOL3350. If you have successfully completed BIOL3350 you cannot

enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

STAT1020 or STAT1070

Assessment items

Report: Zoo Report

Written Assignment: Draft and Final Scientific Paper; Peer Reviews and Presentation

Written Assignment: Content Summaries

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah

Computer Lab

Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1

Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 20 hour(s) per Term Full Term


Online 2 hour(s) per Week for 7 Weeks starting in week 2


Face to Face On Campus 32 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Workshop will involve 4 x 8hr workshops; Students will also be required to complete some self directed field based study for a Student Project.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.