YBE-30306 Behavioural Ecology


Studiepunten 6.00

Practical extensively supervised26
Practical intensively supervised42
Project learning5
Problem-based learning8
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. B Kemp
prof. dr. M Naguib
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. B Beerda
MSc KM Hoedjes
prof. dr. M Dicke
prof. dr. M Naguib
dr. CHJ van Oers
Examiner(s)prof. dr. M Dicke
prof. dr. ir. B Kemp
prof. dr. HHT Prins

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

ETH-20306 Behaviour and endocrinology


The course Behavioural Ecology provides insight in how evolution through natural selection shapes behaviour of animals (domestic or wild, vertebrate or invertebrate). The course includes acquiring theoretical knowledge, searching scientific information, critically reading of literature, observation and presentation of results. The acquired knowledge is directly applied in a short research project on captive or wild animals - depending on the opportunities; these can be either invertebrates or vertebrates.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- use evolutionary concepts to explain animal behaviour;
- define and apply the four questions of Tinbergen in behavioural issues;
- apply the basic behavioural and ecological skills of observation and (statistical) data analysis;
- plan and finalize a small behavioural ecological research project;
- to present the results of a research project in a report and oral presentation.


The course is a full-time block course of 4 weeks. The first week is centred on theoretical issues. For lectures the book 'An introduction to behavioural ecology' by Krebs and Davies is used. In the lectures the theoretical background of the relation between animal behaviour and natural selection is given During the whole four week period students work in teams of two or three on a mini-research project. In the first week, students can select a topic for this project. You will develop a research question and integrate it with theory you got acquainted with in week 1 and finalise your working plan using scientific information from the scientific literature (literature study). Through discussions with the supervisor(s) your research plan will be finalized in week 1, and your work plan and literature study will be presented to your fellow students. Experiments will be executed subsequently, and you will learn to analyse your data (some lectures are given for instruction for the analysis), a report is made and the results are presented.


Evaluation will be based on a written examination, presentation and report.


J.R. Krebs & N.B. Davies An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology Third Edition.

Verplicht voor: MBIBiologyMScA: Animal Adaptation and Behavioural Biology6WD
Keuze voor: MASAnimal SciencesMScD: Animal Health and Behaviour6WD
Keuze voor: WUEBCBSc Minor Ecology and Biological Control of Insects6WD