Marine Behavioural Ecology – FULL


Animals take many actions in response to their environment, including both physical and biological stimuli. These actions come with positive and negative consequences that may determine the success of the animal. In this hands-on introduction to some of the key concepts of behavioural ecology we will investigate diverse behaviours exhibited by intertidal animals. This course will emphasize thermoregulation and other behaviours relevant to climate change, working primarily in the field where behaviour in natural habitats can be observed. You will participate in all aspects of a small-group research project on marine invertebrate behaviour, from experimental design and data collection to analysis and presentation of findings.

Research Skills: Students will learn how to develop testable hypotheses, design and implement behavioural studies involving observation and experimentation in the lab and in the field, identify coastal marine organisms, characterize coastal habitats, organize and analyze data in R, and practice communicating their findings to a range of audiences.

Practical Skills: Critical thinking, scientific method, project planning, experimental design and sampling techniques, local species identification, field and laboratory research techniques and safety practices, qualitative and quantitative data collection, data management, beginning visualization and analysis in R, and effective written and oral communication for diverse audiences.

Prerequisites:  Required: Intro Ecology, or instructor permission. Recommended but not required: Intro Statistics and one (1) course of either Vertebrate OR Invertebrate Zoology.

Physical Requirements: This course includes physical exertion and challenges expected in any of BMSC’s field courses: frequent trips to slippery intertidal field sites, some hiking over rough terrain, getting on and off boats onto rocks and other surfaces with precarious footing, working partially submerged in cold water, and some long hours of repetitive research tasks.

Textbook: There is no required textbook; readings will be provided by instructor.

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We will be creatively thinking and physically doing marine behavioural ecology.

For inspiration from past versions of the class, check out the course video (LINK = and collection of podcasts (LINK = made by students in Marine Behavioural Ecology 2015.


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