No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2017

BIO439 Behavioural Ecology (8)


This subject provides students with an advanced knowledge of behavioural ecology with an emphasis on avian examples.Topics covered include testing hypotheses, animal decision making, predation, competition, group living, sexual selection, parental care, mating systems, sex allocation, cooperation, altruism and communication It is assumed students have graduate level ecology as well as some exposure to doing statistical analysis because students are required to collect, analyse and write up field data in a publishable format. There is no residential school associated with this subject. On completion students are able to critically understand, evaluate, and write up research associated with behavioural ecology and have the potential to undertake ongoing research and study in behavioural ecology.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details prior to contacting their course coordinator: BIO439
Where differences exist between the handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Environmental Sciences

Assumed Knowledge


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • have in-depth knowledge about behavioural ecology
  • have specialist skills in the identification and description of behaviour
  • be able to apply their knowledge and skills as a professional so as to design a behavioural study, collect behavioural data, analyse this data and interpret the results
  • be able to communicate complex information as a professional including the ability to review the primary literature in a critical manner and write up behavioural data in a scientific format suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed publication; and the issues associated with the complexities and limitations surrounding the collection of, and publication of, behavioural data


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Behavioural Ecology - basic concepts
  • Competition for resources: Foraging, habitat choice, managing time and energy
  • Behaviour and Reproduction: sexual selection, breeding systems
  • Social Behaviour: living in groups
  • Communication and signalling
  • Alturism and conflict
  • The effects of captivity on behaviour
  • Lessons in Life Histories


The information contained in the 2017 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 25 August 2017. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.