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Animal Behaviour

BIOL 321/3.0

An evolutionary approach to the study of animal behaviour. This course explores processes and patterns in behaviour, with emphasis on perception, communication, foraging, spacing, reproduction and social behaviour in a variety of animals. Methods of studying and analyzing behaviour are explored through laboratory exercises.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how natural selection shapes the behaviour of animals;
  2. Distinguish between different types of questions that may be asked about animal behaviour, and formulate hypotheses of each type to explain a given behaviour;
  3. Outline the formulation of hypotheses about behaviour, the procedures used to test them, and the types of data that can be collected;
  4. Explain the origin and evolution of behaviours involved in activities such as foraging, spacing and group movement, predator-prey interactions, reproduction, and communication

Description

Animal Behaviour will introduce students to an evolutionary approach to the study of animal behaviour.  The lectures will emphasize testing hypotheses about how natural selection shapes the behaviour of animals.  Material ranges from sensory perception and physiological mechanisms underlying behaviour to foraging, lectures will serve as an introduction to active and exciting research in ecology, psychology, physiology, genetics, applied conservation and animal welfare. Independent research projects will promote the development of research skills, including the design of a study, the collection, analysis and interpretation of behavioural data, and the written communication of results.

Note: Students in this course should have a basic understanding of how statistics are used in biology. Much of the textbook and assigned readings will require this knowledge.  In addition, you will not be able to complete your research project without being able to do simple statistical analyses (e.g. t-tests, chi-square tests).

Terms

Summer 17: May - July
Course Dates: 
May 1 - July 21, 2017
Exam Dates: 
N/A

Evaluation

Online Tests50%
Online Discussion Activities15%
Research Project Proposal10%
Research Project25%

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).

Instructor

Dr. Laura Nagel (nagell@queensu.ca)

Instructor message

My name is Laura Nagel, I am an I am an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Program Associate in the Department of Biology at Queen's University. I have been teaching ecology and animal behaviour courses online and in the classroom at Queen’s since 2006. This online course in animal behaviour is the result of one very successful online version in 2015 combined with years of teaching a live classroom version.

During this course, you will conduct a research project based on a question in animal behaviour that interests you. My own research focuses on the role of natural selection during the process of adaptation in wild populations of animals. My MSc in evolutionary biology is from the University of British Columbia and my PhD in marine evolutionary biology was conducted in Australia.

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 11 hours a week (132 hours per term) in study/practice and online activity for BIOL 321.

Course Resources

About SOLUS

SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.

Dates/Deadlines

The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2017, Fall Term 2017 and Winter Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $666.91; for a 6.0-unit course, $1333.82. See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point
A+4.30
A4.00
A-3.70
B+3.30
B3.00
B-2.70
C+2.30
C2.00
C-1.70
D+1.30
D1.00
D-0.70
F0.00

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.