School: School of Arts and Sciences

Semester: Monsoon 2023 (August 1, 2023 - November 26, 2023)

Application Deadline: July 28, 2023

Credits: 3

Lecture Time & Weekdays

Tuesday and Thursday: 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Prerequisite: Familiarity with Introductory Biology

Course Description

If you are interested to understand how and why animals behave the way they do, and how we test hypotheses about behaviour scientifically? This course provides an introduction to the complexities of animal behaviour, and how it is studied. Students will explore the various behaviours animals adopt in order to meet the challenges of their daily lives. We begin with how animals learn and communicate with each other, then move on to discuss how they find food, avoid predators, choose their mates, and rear their offspring. This course is aimed at anyone looking to broaden their understanding of animal behaviour beyond nature documentaries or a typical high school education. No previous knowledge is required, only curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject.

Course Objectives: 

After completing this course, students will be able to understand

  • Key concepts of animal behaviour
  • The fascinating range and complexity of behaviour in animals
  • How scientific hypotheses are developed and tested
  • How animals learn and communicate
  • Animals' reproductive behaviour
  • How animals function socially

Learning Outcomes

To develop a critical scientific understanding on animal behaviour: As a part of the project-based activity, students should be able to design a scientific hypothesis to ask a basic question about animal behaviour.

To exhibit quantitative research skills: As a part of the project-based activity, Students should be able to collect relevant data in order to answer their hypothesis and analyse the data to interpret the results

Pedagogy: The course contents will comprise academic readings and documentary videos on topics relating to different kinds of animal behaviour. It will also involve activities/tasks like constructing ethogram and basic analyses of behaviour through using recorded videos. The course will also include short field trips to local parks or reserves to give student a hands-on-experience on observing and scientifically recording animal behaviour. The course will also involve projects where students will develop a hypothesis, collect data to test the hypothesis, conduct appropriate analyses to interpret data and will write up their projects for final evaluation. Students will undertake projects on animal behaviour either in the laboratory setup or in the field conditions.

Expectation from Students: The role of the student in this course is to be an active participant in the learning process. In order to excel, you must come to class having read the assigned reading and be prepared and willing to discuss. Students are expected to have good skills in note-taking, reading, writing, and presenting their work. If you have any concerns, please meet with me, and we can make a plan for you to succeed in this course.


  • Mid Semester Examination: 
    • Assignment - 20%
    • Class participation - 10%
    • Quiz - 20%
    • Data Visualisation - 20%
  • End Semester Examination: 30%

Attendance Policy: As per Ahmedabad University Policy

Course Material and Text Book(s):

Text Book(s)

  • Pheromones and Animal Behavior: Chemical Signals and Signatures, Wyatt Tristram D
  • Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, John Alcock, Tenth Edition
  • An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology, Nicholas B. Davies, John R. Krebs, Stuart A. West, Fourth Edition
  • Pheromones and Animal Behavior: Chemical Signals and Signatures, Wyatt Tristram D
  • Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, John Alcock, Tenth Edition




Associate Professor
School of Arts and Sciences

[email protected]

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