Core Module Information
Module title: Animal Behaviour

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

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


Description of module content:

In this module, you will learn about animal behaviour, primarily in the context of evolution and ecology. You will learn about the evolutionary framework that underlies the scientific understanding of animal behaviour, and be able to use examples drawn from a wide variety of animal species to explain key theoretical concepts. This module will cover many topics including behavioural ecology theory, natural selection of behaviour, 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. You will learn about illustrative case studies involving all forms of animal life, including insects, mammals (e.g. chimpanzees, lions, elephants, whales, dolphins, bats), birds (e.g. albatrosses, capercaillies, 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
2022/3, 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: Luke Holman
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Your scientific and employability skills will be developed through a combination of interactive lectures (LO 1-3) and tutorials incorporating group activities (LO 1-3). The classroom teaching will incorporate both recent and classic research from the peer-reviewed academic literature, such that you will read and hear about research conducted on diverse animal species living all over the world. The lecturers will also draw on their experience conducting animal behaviour research in the UK and beyond, providing context and a personal touch to the key concepts you will learn about. In addition to teaching new knowledge, the interactive and collaborative nature of tutorials will afford you opportunities to develop your teamwork and communication skills. The coursework assessment is designed to encourage and reward your regular engagement with the module throughout the trimester, to provide frequent feedback on your learning, and to limit your workload during the busy exam period. The final exam will reward you for taking a holistic view of all the topics and concepts covered over the trimester, helping you to develop a holistic, integrated understanding of the inter-connected topics covered in this module.

Formative Assessment:
There will be an initial formatively-assessed quiz early in Week 2, with no summative element, to help you prepare for the quizzes that collectively comprise the coursework component of this module’s summative assessment. Furthermore, there will be additional formative assessment in Week 11 to prepare you for the final summative examination; here, you will gain practice answering questions with the same format as those in the exam, and will have the option to receive feedback from peers and lecturers. You will also be provided with exemplar exam answers to help guide you in preparing a strong answer or your own, as well as a detailed guide to how your work will be marked.

Summative Assessment:
The summative assessment is designed to encourage you to take a holistic approach to module content, to engage with a diversity of concepts, and to draw parallels between them. The coursework component of the summative assessment comprises weekly online quizzes, which are designed to encourage and reward your regular engagement with the module throughout the trimester, to provide frequent feedback on your learning, and to limit your workload during the busy exam period. The final summative assessment will be a take-home, open-book exam involving a mix of short-answer and essay-style questions, to accommodate a diversity of approaches, and you will be rewarded for conducting original research of the primary academic literature.

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