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Ethology I

  • 15 credits

This course provides a broad overview of the field of animal behaviour, covering topics like learning and cognition, neuroethology, reproductive behaviour, parental care, migration, foraging, anti-predator behavior and sociality. The course also covers the vital relevance of skills in ethology for applied purposes such as animal welfare.

During the initial five weeks of teaching, students will gain rigorous knowledge of the theory of animal behaviour. After this teaching component, the course concludes with a two-week-long practical project. In this project, small groups of students will carry out a behavioural study on real animals (deer, birds, fish, and insects). These studies allow students to apply the methods and concepts highlighted during the lectures in practice and will be presented in both a written report and an oral presentation.

  • Course structure

    The course consists of a theoretical part and a practical part.

    Teaching format

    The first part of the course consists primarily of lectures, weekly discussion seminars, and reading the text book. Note that you can borrow the text book from us. The second part of the course consists of a behavioural study that you plan, perform and then present for the course in groups of 3 - 4 students. The work will be presented both orally and as a written report. Before the behavioural studies begin, we will have preparation days, going through the research systems and questions, how to plan and conduct experiments, and how to analyse data. The behavioural studies will be performed at Tovetorp (the Zoology Department's research station ca 90 km SW of Stockholm). We will be at Tovetorp for a total of 10 days separated into two periods of five days each (see schedule). Teachers will be available at all times during the project. The projects will provide great opportunities for hands-on understanding of how research projects are carried out all the way from idea to scientific report.


    Written examinations, a written project report and an oral project presentation.


    David Wheatcroft

    E-mail: david.wheatcroft@zoologi.su.se

    Niclas Kolm

    Email: niclas.kolm@zoologi.su.se

  • Schedule

    This is a preliminary schedule and is subject to continuous change. For this reason, we do not recommend print-outs. At the start of the course, your institution will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Note that you can borrow the text book from us!

    Nordell, S. & Valone, T J. Animal Behavior - Concepts, Methods, and Applications. International Second Edition. Oxford University Press, 2017.

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