Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Behavioural Flexibility (BIME11160)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryIn 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.
Course description 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)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Course Start Date 05/08/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Online Activities 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 53 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
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.
Feedback 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
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and effectively communicate key concepts within behavioural flexibility.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of behavioural flexibility and the associated fitness implications.
  3. Apply knowledge to identify and review key behaviours that influence an animal¿s success under anthropogenic pressures.
  4. Synthesise accrued knowledge to critically evaluate and reflect on the application of behavioural ecology for the benefit of conservation.
Reading List
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.
Additional Information
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.
KeywordsBehavioural ecology,flexibility,adaptation
Course organiserDr Harriet Thatcher
Tel: (0131 6)50 3508
Course secretaryMr Andrew Le Tissier
Tel: (0131 6)51 4075
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information