Spring 2019 - BISC 410 D100

Behavioral Ecology (3)

Class Number: 6912

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM
    AQ 3005, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 10, 2019
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    AQ 3181, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 102 and either BISC 204 or GEOG 215, all with a grade of C- or better.



An introduction to the evolution of behavior and its adaptiveness in a natural context.


This course is about understanding why animals behave the way they do. We will consider a wide variety of behaviours (social behaviour, foraging decisions, mate choice, parental care, life-history strategies, territoriality, altruism) and seek to understand them as the product of evolution, using the concepts of Darwinian selection and adaptation as theoretical cornerstones. We will briefly discuss the evolution of human behaviour. After becoming familiar with the approaches and methods of behavioural ecology, students will get a chance to complete their own scientific inquiry into animal behaviour. You will never look at an animal in the same way!


  • Tutorial Presentation (mandatory) 15%
  • Tutorial Participation (mandatory) 15%
  • Midterm Exam (mandatory) 20%
  • Final Exam (0-50%) 25%
  • Project (0-50%) 25%


You will in this course be able to choose how to weight your grade between the final exam and a project. I’ll describe the procedure in class on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 and again Wednesday, 13 September 2017. Full project details will be given in class. Grade weighting procedures have as a consequence that letter grades are more competitive, because class members can skew the grade allocation toward their individual strengths.  

Your decision about grade weighting is due Monday 2 October 2017. By then you’ll have had enough exposure to the course material to decide the weighting best for you.



Davies, Krebs & West (2012).  An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology, 4th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 978-1-4051-1416-5

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html