Experimental Behavioural Zoology

Subject ZOOL30007 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 tutorials (6 hours total) and 60 hours of practical work during the semester.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours

All of

Plus one of


  • 654-204 Ecology: Individuals and Populations (prior to 2009)

Plus one of

  • 654-201 Invertebrate Structure and Function (prior to 2009)
  • 654-202 Vertebrate Structure and Function (prior to 2009)
  • 654-203 Animal Physiology (prior to 2009)

Corequisites: 654-315 Animal Behaviour
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have completed either of the following subjects may not enrol in this subject for credit
  • 654-305 Experimental Animal Behaviour (prior to 2010)
  • 654-303 Experimental Animal Behaviour (prior to 2003)
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Assoc Prof Raoul Mulder, Prof Mark Elgar


Email: 654320@zoology.unimelb.edu.au
Subject Overview:

This subject explores the techniques and methods of undertaking research in zoology with an emphasis on behaviour, including experimental and sampling design, data collection, statistical analysis of data, presentation of the research results and peer review. Students will participate in a group project, in which they will design, execute, analyse and interpret observational and experimental studies of animals in either natural or captive populations.


To provide students with an opportunity to engage in an authentic experience of the entire process of scientific research: from translating a general question in animal behaviour to a specific hypothesis about the relationship between measurable variables; developing an experimental or sampling design; collecting and analysing data; preparing an oral presentation and a draft written report; formally reviewing reports prepared by other students and revising their reports in line with the reviews provided by their colleagues; and finally submitting an individual report for assessment.


A scientific report totalling up to 1500 words due at the end of semester (60%); evaluation of contribution by group members (10%); reviews of written and spoken work by peers (20%); a 10-minute oral presentation towards the end of semester (10%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

M. S. Dawkins, Observing animal behaviour: design and analysis of quantitative data, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007.

P. Martin & P. Bateson, Measuring behaviour: an introductory guide, 3rd Ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

The subject builds upon existing generic skills, including an ability to assimilate and critically evaluate new knowledge within a scientific paradigm, and to communicate that knowledge to others. Students should also develop skills in managing a group research project, and in analysing, interpreting and evaluating scientific data critically. They should also gain experience in writing a scientific report, providing and responding to peer reviews, and making an oral presentation


This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Animal Behaviour and Welfare
Animal Science
Behavioural Ecology
Livestock Production
Reproductive Physiology
Wildlife and Conservation

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