BIO3052 - Animal Behaviour

General Unit Information


We study animal behaviour because we are curious about the natural world, because it can give us pivotal insights into our own behaviour, and because the knowledge gained can have applied relevance in conservation, animal production and animal welfare.

This award winning unit deals with key aspects of animal behaviour. We will delve into the way animals communicate with each other, with particular emphasis on how signals are produced, transmitted and received, the value of the information being conveyed, and how signals can be used by others in social manipulation. We will explore how behaviour develops and the factors that can shape this development, including the role of genes and the environment. Taking an ecological and evolutionary perspective, we will then examine a range of behaviours, including reproduction, parental care, foraging, predator-prey interactions and sociality. Finally, we will discuss contemporary issues in animal behaviour, including the role of behaviour in mediating the response of animals to an increasingly human-dominated world.

Practical work comprises small research projects carried out in groups over the course of the semester under the guidance of an academic mentor. You will learn how to design, carry out, analyse, talk about and write up your research discoveries. The practical component of the unit has been specially designed to encompass and foster multiple aspects of student learning – from inception of ideas and collection of data, to the analyses and presentation of results, peer-engagement, and defense of conclusions.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the mechanisms underlying animal behaviour;
  2. Explain how behaviour develops and why it is adaptive;
  3. Evaluate the ways in which the environment shapes adaptive behaviour;
  4. Design, conduct and analyse the results of an extended research project;
  5. Communicate findings to a scientific and a general audience in individual and group settings.

Specific Unit Information

Unit Coordinator
Name Professor Bob Wong
Office location 19Rnf/110
Office hours By appointment - please email
Technical Coordinator
Name Dani Annese
Office location 25Rnf/114
Office hours Tue - Fri
Phone 9905 0512
Prescribed Animal Behaviour, Rubenstein, D.R., Alcock, J., 11th Edition, 2019
Program for 2022
Handbook Entry BIO3052- Synopsis, Assessment & Prerequisites
Schedule BIO3052 - Timetable and Topics for 2022
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