This course is designed to take the students understanding of animal behaviour to a level normally reserved for higher education.
The entry to this course is limited to those with a suitable academic background, i.e. at least a GCSE pass in Biology and/or psychology or having achieved a distinction (or high merit) on the intermediate Animal Behaviour course.
In some cases, applicants may not possess such qualifications but may still feel able to study at this level and such cases are considered on their individual merits - applicants such as these should be discussed with Compass.
1. The Genetics of Behaviour
- The structure of cells and cell division
- The principles of genetics and inheritance of characteristics
- Mutations and evolution
- The inheritance of behaviour, and innate behaviour
2. Learning and Environmental Influences
- Temporal contiguity, and the way that associations are made when learning takes place
- Operant conditioning, and the shaping of behaviour
- Extinction of behaviour, and spontaneous recovery of behaviour
- Rewards and reinforcement of behaviour
- Critical and sensitive periods when learning must take place
- Systematic desensitisation and flooding
- Cultural transmission and observational learning
- The importance of play
- Environmental influences on learning and development
- The importance of memory for learning
3. Bio-chemical Influences
- The differences between the divisions of the nervous system
- The different neural pathways between voluntary and involuntary behaviour, including reflex actions
- The structure of the nervous system
- Circadian and circannual rhythms
- Social stimuli that alter behaviour
- Hormones that moderate environmental influences on behaviour
- Thermoregulation, and adaptations to achieve it
- Osmoregulation and behavioural strategies, The responses of animals to stimuli
4. Motivation and Decision Making
- Do animals think?
- Are animals aware of time?
- Self awareness and reflections on their actions
- Do animals make decisions and how are they motivated?
- Problem solving in animals
- Abnormal behaviour, and displacement behaviour
- Optimum foraging theory , Writing up of scientific reports based on a behavioural study
5. Survival Value and Fitness
- Survival strategies from an evolutionary point of view - both behavioural and physical adaptations are covered
- Fitness and kin selection theory
- Selfish gene theory
- The evolution of the differences between the sexes, sexual dimorphism and sexual asymmetry
- Sperm competition
- Parental investment in bringing up the young, different strategies for raising offspring
- Courtship strategies for maximising mating opportunities
- Eusociality and altruistic behaviour
- Evolutionary stable strategies
6. Ecology and Conservation Biology
- What is ecology?
- Competition between species
- Populations within ecosystems, and how different species interact
- Population growth and maintenance, factors that affect population growth
- Biogeography, both ecological and historical
- The major biomes of the Earth and the differences between them
- The adaptations of animal species to different types of habitat
- Extinction of animal species and the factors that affect it
- Captive breeding programmes and evaluation of their success
Study Level 4The study Level relates to the how demanding the course is. 1 is beginner and 5 is HND / Foundation Degree level.
6 Module CourseThis course is delivered in 6 study modules which need to be passed to gain the qualification.
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