Experimental Animal Behaviour

Subject ZOOL30007 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

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



Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 2

Note: ZOOL30006 may also be taken concurrently.

Plus one of:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering applications for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005) and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, this subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in practical class and 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. http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/

Subject Overview:

In this subject you will conduct group-based, hands-on, original research into animal behaviour. Over the semester you will be immersed in the entire process of scientific research - from hypothesis development and experimental design, through to data collection and statistical analysis. You will report your findings in spoken and written formats, and critically review the work of other students. Study animals range from insects and spiders, to fish, birds and mammals – in the lab, zoo or wild. You will emerge with an authentic experience of scientific research – complete with its challenges, frustrations and the thrill of scientific discovery.

Learning Outcomes:

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 written project plan submitted by the end of the first three weeks of semester (1 page, 300 to 700 words; 10%); a written scientific report totalling up to 1500 words due at the end of semester (50%); evaluation of contribution by group members (10%); reviews of written and spoken work by peers, during the semester (3 reviews totalling up to 2500 words; 25%) followed by a rejoinder to reviewer comments (500 words, 5%); a 10-minute oral presentation towards the end of semester (10%).

Prescribed Texts:


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.

This subject was previously known as 654-320 Experimental Behavioural Zoology (prior to 2011)

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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