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BL4232   Neuroethology

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: To be arranged.

Neuroethology is the study of the neural control of natural animal behaviour from a comparative biological perspective. In this module we focus mainly on behaviours arising from the interactions between predators and their prey. Predators and prey are locked in an evolutionary arms race which continuously refines and improves the abilities of predators to locate and capture prey, and of prey to detect and evade predators. This strong selective pressure has produced some spectacular adaptations in both the nervous systems and the overall anatomy of the animals concerned. This, combined with the usually unambiguous motivation of the animals involved in predator-prey interactions (eat or starve, escape or be eaten) has made such adaptations favoured targets for study by neuroscientists, behavioural scientists, and biomechanicists. Students on this module will undertake a series of guided case studies researching the primary literature, and the module will also include some hands-on laboratory work. The aim is both to uncover some general principles of neural and biomechanical organisation, and also to reveal the variety and ingenuity with which evolution has found different solutions to shared problems.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass BL2101

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 2-hour seminar (x 10 weeks)

Scheduled learning hours: 20

Guided independent study hours: 130

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 50%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 50%

Re-assessment: 2-hour Written Examination = 50%, Existing Coursework = 50%


Module coordinator: Dr W J Heitler
Module teaching staff: Dr W Heitler, Prof K Sillar