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The University of Southampton

BIOL3072 Behavioural Ecology

Module Overview

Behavioural ecology considers the evolutionary pressures that shape behaviour. This module will explore animal behaviours from evolutionary biology and population ecological perspectives. Each week, lectures will consider a different behavioural ecology topic, to be discussed in more detail in accompanying weekly seminars. Throughout the module, students will keep an individual notebook/log/journal, sharing their notes and reflections with other students during seminars as part of group discussions to expand their personal learning network. Each student will write a research proposal for a behavioural ecology research project of their own devising, requiring them to consider the relevant background information, appropriate methodology and to budget the costs of their proposed project.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- Appraise studies in topical areas of behavioural ecology research. - Devise, plan and propose a behavioural ecology research project.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • To understand the evolutionary processes that shape animal behaviours.
  • Evaluate the adaptive value of behaviours.
  • Critically evaluate the theoretical behavioural ecology frameworks used to explain observed behaviours.
  • Complete a behavioural ecology research project proposal.
  • Manage your time and literature searching in order to increase your knowledge of behavioural ecology.
  • Be prepared to complete weekly tasks in order to develop critical thinking, literature searching and time management skills.
  • Engage with peers in discussion.


6 topics to be covered: - Cooperation and altruism - Personality variation - Urban behavioural ecology - Movement ecology and migration - Cultural evolution and social learning - Parasitoid behavioural ecology

Special Features

Weekly seminars. Allocation to small group for peer discussion and support. Completion of a research proposal, this could be submitted to an actual undergraduate project scheme, which has a deadline of 1st February each year, for data collection the following summer.

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study130
Total study time150



Reflective account


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 85%
Group presentation 15%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Linked modules


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

BIOL2039Animal Behaviour
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