15h Th, 15h Pr
Number of credits
|Master in psychology (120 ECTS)||3 crédits|
Language(s) of instruction
Organisation and examination
Teaching in the first semester, review in January
Units courses prerequisite and corequisite
Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program
Learning unit contents
The course is a complement to the general course of ethology given in the first cycle. It focuses on behavioural ecology and gives functional explanations to the complexity of behavioural patterns exhibited in varied environmental situations. The course explains how behaviours contribute to the survival and reproductive success of individuals and how the observed tactics and strategies have been selected. Optimality and maximalisation are of primary importance in this perspective. After a general introduction (first lecture), the course is divided into three main chapters: resource exploitation (lecture 2), reproductive systems (lectures 3 to 6) and interactions (lecture 7).
- Chapter 1: main concepts and methods in behavioural ecology.
- Chapter 2: choice of feeding patches, dietary items, reproductive habitat, and dispersion.
- Chapter 3: sexual dimorphism, mate choice, intra-sexual selection, sex roles, public information, mating systems, alternative mating tactics, and sperm competition.
- Chapter 4: interactions with conspecifics (parental care, life in groups, cooperation, altruism)
Learning outcomes of the learning unit
The aim of the course is to explain relations among behaviour, ecology and evolution in a perspective of optimality and selection. It consists in explaining theories in behavioural ecology on diversity of behavioural patterns and in illustrating them with empirical data from varied zoological groups.
Prerequisite knowledge and skills
It is useful to have bases in ethology.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods
A bibliographic report on a specific topic in behavioural ecology
Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)
The lectures are given in the first quadrimester
Recommended or required readings
The Power-Point slides and the table of contents of the lectures are available on the web site of the Behavioural Biology Unit http://www.labos.ulg.ac.be/etho/en/denoel/teaching
Assessment methods and criteria
The evaluation is based on an oral exam on the lectures and is completed by an evaluation of the reports.
The lectures start at the end of September or in October. All details are available on the following web page : http://www.labos.ulg.ac.be/etho/en/denoel/teaching
Prof. Mathieu Denoël
Behavioural Biology Unit
Institute of Zoology (Bat. I1)
University of Liege
Quai van Beneden 22
This link gives access to the web page of the course of behavioural ecology. The lecture notes in pdf format can be downloaded individually. A detailed table of contents, a bibliographic list and resources for the practicals (reports) are also provided.