Module: Animal Ecology

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Stephanie Masefield
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    40 hours
  • Teaching Period

    Semester 2

Module content

This science-based module develops students’ theoretical and applied understanding of faunal ecology across a range of taxonomic groups and global ecosystems. The module will be underpinned with a strong theoretical understanding of the key ecological processes and evolutionary basis for the diversity of life.

The module has a strong focus on animal behaviour, specifically study of competition, adaptation, feeding and reproductive ecologies, with reference to the anatomical and physiological adaptations that influence these behaviours. Ecological processes such as evolution, interspecific interactions, population ecology, parasitism and supporting environmental cycles will be considered in relation to the research and management of fauna.

Overall, students will demonstrate a critical understanding of the relevance of ecological theories and research to the management of taxa.

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Analyse key theories of feeding ecology, reproductive behaviour and community ecology.
  2. Plan and carry out behavioural ecology research
  3. Demonstrate a holistic understanding of how ecological theories inform management of taxa.


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework Research report (3000 words) 60%
Examination Exam (2 hours) 40%

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of the following:

  • Begon, M., Howarth, R.W. and Townsend, C.R. (2014) Essentials of eEcology John Wiley & Sons
  • Berger-Tal., O, and Saltz, D (2016) Conservation behavior: applying behavioral ecology to wildlife conservation and management. Conservation Biology 21 Cambridge University Press
  • Bicudo, J.E.P.W., Buttemer W.A., Chappell, M.A., Pearson, J.T. and Bech, C. (2010) Ecological and environmental physiology of birds. Oxford University Press
  • Danchin, E., Giraldeau, L. & Cézilly, F. (2008) Behavioural ecology. Oxford University Press
  • Davies, N.B., Krebs, J.R, & West, S.A. (2012) An introduction to behavioural ecology John Wiley and Sons
  • Gadagkar, R. (2001) Survival strategies: cooperation and conflict in animal societies. Harvard University Press
  • Green, R.E. (2004) Bird ecology and conservation: a handbook of techniques. Oxford University Press
  • Liem, K.F., Bemis, W., Walker, W. and Grande, L. (2001) Functional anatomy of the vertebrates: An Evolutionary Perspective. Brooks/Cole
  • Kardong, K. (2014) Vertebrates: comparative anatomy, function, evolution.  McGraw-Hill Education
  • Martin, P. and Bateson, P. (2007) Measuring behaviour: an introductory guide. 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press
  • Schmidt-Neilsen, K. (1997) Animal physiology: adaptation and environment. Cambridge University Press
  • Schmidt-Neilsen, K. (2008) How Animals Work. Cambridge University Press
  • Tudge, C. (2000) The variety of life: a survey and a celebration of all the creatures that have ever lived. Oxford University Press
  • Wheater, C.P., Cook, P.A., and Bell, J.P. (2011) Practical field ecology: a project guide Wiley-Blackwell
  • Wilson, E.O (2001) The diversity of life. Penguin