Core Module Information
Module title: Animal Behaviour

SCQF level: 08:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: ENV08100
Module leader: Jason Gilchrist
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Animal and Plant Science


Description of module content:

On this module you will learn about the relationships between animal behaviour, evolution and ecology. We will discuss the evolutionary framework that underlies a scientific understanding of animal behaviour, and illustrate theoretical concepts with examples drawn from a wide variety of species. The topics we will cover include behavioural ecology theory, natural selection of behaviour and behavioural adaptations, inclusive fitness, social behaviour, co-operation, competition, communication, foraging, predator defence, mating systems, mate choice, mating competition, kin selection, altruism, infanticide, migration, tool use, culture, intelligence and conservation. We will discuss everything from insects to whales, including various mammals (e.g. chimpanzees, lions, elephants, whales, dolphins, bats), birds (e.g. albatrosses, capercailzies, dunnocks), amphibians (e.g. frogs), fish (e.g. butterfly fish), and insects (e.g. bees, katydids).

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to
LO1: Summarise the Darwinian concept of fitness and its relation to animal behaviour.
LO2: Interpret a diverse array of behaviours in terms of evolutionary principles.
LO3: Discuss animal behaviour in scientific terms using the appropriate terminology.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2020/1, Trimester 2, FACE-TO-FACE, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: FACE-TO-FACE
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Alison Craig
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
A combination of interactive lectures (LO 1-3) and tutorials incorporating group discussions (LO 1-3) will be used to provide background information and to develop scientific and employability skills. The classroom teaching will explicitly link research and teaching by discussing a wide range of research studies conducted on various species in a variety of locations throughout the world. Moreover, the lecturers themselves have considerable international experience in conducting research into animal behaviour and they will draw on their own research experiences and communicate these to the student in the context of lectures and tutorials. The interactive and collaborative nature of tutorials will help to develop teamwork and communication skills. The coursework is designed to encourage student engagement with the module throughout the trimester and to permit frequent feedback on learning. Working towards a final exam will encourage students to embrace the diversity of concepts covered on the module rather than focusing on a narrow aspect of subject material, and this breadth of approach will enhance learning because many topics on this module are inherently inter-connected.

Formative Assessment:
There will be an initial formatively-assessed quiz in week 4, with no summative element, to help students prepare for the remaining 2 quizzes that collectively comprise the coursework component of this module’s summative assessment. There will be additional formative assessment that is designed to help students work towards the final summative examination. This formative assessment will be scheduled to occur during tutorial classes in week 10 during which students will practise answering exam questions and will then receive feedback with both peer review and lecturer input. In preparation for their production of practice exam answers students will be provided with Moodle/ VLE exemplars of exam answers, each of which is annotated with both lecturer comments and the mark that would be awarded for such an answer.

Summative Assessment:
The summative assessment is designed to encourage a holistic approach to module content and engagement with a diversity of concepts. There will be two online quizzes which will enable students to receive feedback on their learning and mastery of module content at two check points as the module progresses. The final assessment will be a supervised exam consisting of a mixture of short-answer, multiple-choice and long-answer questions to accommodate a diversity of approaches. The online quizzes will help students to work gradually towards their overall module mark rather than facing a high pressure situation in which the entirety of their module mark depends on a single summative assessment.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Lecture 30
Face To Face Tutorial 6
Face To Face Centrally Time Tabled Examination 2
Independent Learning Guided independent study 162
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Digital Examination (not Centrally Timetabled) 20 1 5 HOURS= 0.5, WORDS= 0
Digital Examination (not Centrally Timetabled) 20 2 9 HOURS= 0.5, WORDS= 0
Centrally Time Tabled Digital Examination 60 3 14/15 HOURS= 2, WORDS= 0
Component 1 subtotal: 40
Component 2 subtotal: 60
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Contact your module leader