Postgraduate Course: Behavioural Flexibility (BIME11160)
|School||Deanery of Biomedical Sciences
||College||College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Course type||Online Distance Learning
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||In this course we will explore the term behavioural flexibility. We will discuss how behavioural responses to anthropogenic change may directly influence an animal's fitness and the application of behavioural ecology for wildlife conservation.
An animal's ability to respond behaviourally to heterogeneous environments is often referred to as behaviour flexibility but can also be referred to as adaptability or plasticity, although these terms are not strictly synonyms. In this course, students will be introduced to these descriptors and their use within the field of behavioural ecology. We will discuss how an animals ability to adjust its behaviour under changing conditions is important for its survival in the anthropogenic landscape, using case studies to explore specific examples. We will broadly consider an array of anthropogenic environments within the course literature; however, students will be encouraged to consider their personal environment, and different environments through weekly discussion and course assessments. We will consider key behavioural categories that drive wildlife success under anthropogenic pressures. We will primarily explore foraging flexibility and sociality, as well as considering other behavioural adjustments and risk behaviours. Finally, we will discuss the impact and application of behavioural ecology and its importance for conservation and management strategies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Course Start Date
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Online Activities 25,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Assignment 60%
Online Assignment 40%
Assessments will cover the 3 learning objectives, although the specific details and focus of the assessment items will be flexible to ensure the topics are current and of relevance/importance in this field of study and adaptable to class sizes.
LO1 will be assessed through the online assignment. Using key terminology students must apply their knowledge of behavioural flexibility to an online asynchronous discussion with peers.
LO2 and LO3 will be assessed through the written assignment. Students must discuss how knowledge of behavioural adaptations can be applied to conservation management through a written assignment.
||Comprehensive written feedback is provided individually within 15 working days of the assessment deadline. Students are expected to reflect on their feedback, to seek additional clarification if appropriate, and to use this to improve on future assignments of a similar nature.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify and effectively communicate key concepts within behavioural flexibility.
- Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of behavioural flexibility and the associated fitness implications.
- Apply knowledge to identify and review key behaviours that influence an animal¿s success under anthropogenic pressures.
- Synthesise accrued knowledge to critically evaluate and reflect on the application of behavioural ecology for the benefit of conservation.
|Many animal science and conservation related journals will provide suitable reading for students. Students are also encouraged to look specifically at the journals Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology.|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||The study materials provided in this course will enhance the student's professional skills, to search for, read and understand the relevant scientific literature. Students will display knowledge and understanding of theories using key literature to support specific arguments and to present the findings in a coherent and appropriate way. Students will apply skills in critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to deal with critical issues and develop original thinking. Communication skills will be developed through discussion boards, allowing students to use ICT applications to enhance communication with peers and the course tutor. Coursework and independent study will allow students to exercise autonomy and initiative.
|Course organiser||Dr Harriet Thatcher
Tel: (0131 6)50 3508
|Course secretary||Mr Andrew Le Tissier
Tel: (0131 6)51 4075