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The University of Southampton

BIOL2055 Behaviour and Ecology Field Course

Module Overview

A 5 day field course held in Bolonia on the Andalucian coast of Southern Spain, within the Estrecho natural park. The field course will take place during the Easter holidays, when there is a large diversity of flora and fauna to survey. As a residential field course, you will be able to immerse yourself in research, undertaking a research project of your own design, to test a novel ecological hypothesis. You will then collect, analyse and interpret your data, producing a written report and a conference-style presentation. Throughout the module you will keep a field notebook to record your project’s development, data collection and interpretation.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Consider the ecological and evolutionary selection pressures which shape the behaviours expressed by animals
  • Design and implement a field-based behavioural ecology research project, which includes an awareness of the challenges of field research, including the importance of using appropriate survey methods and apparatus
  • Reflect upon the challenges posed by field research, in order to assist in the planning, implementation, analysis and interpretation of study data
  • Analyse, synthesise and interpret field study findings, using evidence from a variety of sources
  • Present a short behavioural ecology field study to your peers in a conference-style presentation


Preparatory lectures in Southampton will focus on behavioural measurement, to assist in effective study design and data collection. After arrival in Bolonia, we will spend a couple of days looking around the area and trialing behavioural data collection, to help you to develop your research project. You will then spend 3 days intensely collecting data. Upon return to Southampton, project groups will present their findings to the whole module, in a mini research symposium.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, seminars, field work, student presentations

Independent Study90
Total study time146



MethodPercentage contribution
Field notebook 20%
Field project 50%
Group Oral Presentation 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Field notebook 20%
Field project 50%
Individual Presentation 30%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

BIOL2039Animal Behaviour


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Field Trips

The cost of the field course for students from Biological Sciences will be covered by the school. Students from outside the School of Biological Sciences including those taking the Biology and Marine Biology programme will be required to pay the full cost of the field course.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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