NBIK14010U Social Behaviour and Communication
MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biology with a minor subject
The course covers the main topics in social behaviour and communication for animals, illustrated both by textbook examples and recent findings in the field; Levels of socialisation; Motivation, emotions and mood; Game theory and evolutionarily stable strategies; Communication networks and neighbourhood dynamics; Social cognition; Social aspects of animal welfare; Social and territorial behaviour; Signalling, reception and interpretation of communicative behaviour under constraints; Signals, information and meaning; Mating systems.
By completing the course the student will have obtained detailed
knowledge of behavioural and communicative processes fundamental
for animal social behaviour and organisation.
By completing the course the student will know how to:
- Explain animal social behaviour and organisation in terms of function, mechanism, ontogeny and evolution;
- Present in details the connecting and organising function of signals for animal social behaviour and explain the evolutionary forces that shape signals and signalling;
- Explain the relative effects of physical, biological and social environments on individual behaviour.
By completing the course the student can:
- Propose alternative hypotheses to explain a behaviour, design an appropriate experiment to test them and suggest predictions;
- Measure behaviour using different methods and analyse the data obtained in different manners;
- Critically discuss results with respect to the hypothesis tested, place them in a broad general context, link to other behaviour issues and propose further lines of enquiry;
- Explain the costs and benefits of different experimental designs, data collection and analysis methods and identify sources of error;
- Present her/his work (in oral and written form) at a level approaching the scientific standard;
- Extract, present and critically discuss in detail the results of a scientific article about animal behaviour;
- Identify and explain strengths and weaknesses in scientific articles, suggest solutions to the weaknesses and further enquiries inspired by the strengths.
Textbook and scientific articles (see Absalon for details).
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
- Class Instruction
- Practical exercises
- Project work
The students will be given oral feedback during the discussion confrontations and after the oral presentation. Written feedback will be given for the four exercise reports. These will also be followed up with oral, collective feedback. The students will also be given individual feedback to their exam essays and oral exam.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Written assignment, 5 page essay, 7 daysOral examination, 20 minutesThe oral examination will consist of defence of the essay (10 minutes) and oral examination on the rest of the course contents (10 minutes). The examination is without preparation time. The final grade is given based on an overall assessment of the essay, the defence of the essay and the oral examination.
- Exam registration requirements
Students must hand in at least three of the four exercise reports to take the exam.
- Without aids
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Two internal examiners
The same as ordinary exam. The written assignment must be reused at the re-exam. If the writtten assignment is not handed in as part of the ordinary exam the student must hand in an assignment based on a new topic provided by the teacher no later than three weeks before the re-exam.
If the requirement of handing in at least three of the four exercise reports is not fulfilled, the student must hand in the missing reports (based on data provided by the teachers) no later than three weeks before the reexam.
Criteria for exam assesment
In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.