Ethology

Course content

Levels of explanation in ethology 
Tinbergen's four questions, behavioural mechanisms

Development of behaviour 
maturation, nature/nurture, FAP/MAP, instincts, effect of early experience, perinatal stress

Stimuli and communication
perception, sensory exploitation, peripheral and central stimulusfiltration, pattern recognition, deception

Motivation and decision-making
behavioural needs, homestasis model, psychohydraulic model, wanting vs liking, optimality models

Learning and memory
operant and classical conditioning, conditioned emotional response, SSDR, generalisation, discrimination, declarative and procedural memory, implicit and explicit memory, levels of intentionality

Adaptiveness of behaviour
Evolutionary Stable Strategies, kin selection, selfish gene, levels of selection, reciprocal altruism, infanticide

Social organization
formal dominance, leadership, mating systems

Companion animals
dog vs wolf, dog aggression, training methods, effect of punishment, the human-animal relationship, behavioural problems

Education

BSc Programme in Animal Science (husdyrvidenskab)- begrænset valgfri
MSc Programme in Animal Science - restircted elective

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to give a theoretical introduction to the main areas of animal behaviour. The behaviour of production, companion, laboratory and wild animals will be exemplified. The purpose of this is to make the students capable of understanding the function and mechanisms of behaviour, and apply this knowledge in both an applied and a basic setting.

When the course is finished the student is expected to:

Knowledge:
- Describe the behaviour of animals from a functional perspective
- Describe the causal mechanisms of behaviour
- Understand the theoretical basis for the basic needs of animals

Skills:
- Discriminate normal and abnormal behaviour
- Identify relevant motivational systems for a given behaviour
- Use scientific principles to explain and evaluate different problems in animal behaviour

Competencies:
- Work independently and effectively in a group on a joint project
-  Search for scientific literature on specific topics related to animal behaviour
- Assess contribution and quality of work of peers

The first half of the course consists of lectures on the foundations of ethology, as well as the behaviour of companion animals. This part is followed by a written exam. The second part of the course consists of problem based learning where the students work in groups to tackle different problems in ethology, applying the knowledge gained in the first half of the course.

An introduction to Animal Behaviour (2012) by Aubrey Manning and Marian Dawkins, 6th edition

Further material will be assigned at the beginning of the course

Knowledge corresponding to two years of animal science or biology studies.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Other under invigilation
Written exam at Peter Bangsvej mid-course contributes 60% to the overall mark.
Peer assessment of problem based learning assignments, weighted by the quality of the assignements, contributes 40% to the overall mark. Non-completion of the peer assessment leads to fail of the course.
Aid
All aids allowed

USB-stick

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal sensorship. Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student shall be able to:

Knowledge:
- Describe the behaviour of animals from a functional perspective
- Describe the causal mechanisms of behaviour
- Understand the theoretical basis for the basic needs of animals

Skills:
- Discriminate normal and abnormal behaviour
- Identify relevant motivational systems for a given behaviour
- Use scientific principles to explain and evaluate different problems in animal behaviour

Competencies:
- Work independently and effectively in a group on a joint project
- Search for scientific literature on specific topics related to animal behaviour
- Assess contribution and quality of work of peers

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 48
  • Project work
  • 86
  • Preparation
  • 72
  • Theory exercises
  • 0
  • English
  • 206