Fall 2022 - BISC 410 D100

Behavioral Ecology (3)

Class Number: 1742

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby

    Th 8:30 AM – 9:20 AM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2022
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 3005, 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 (including cooperation, altruism and spite, foraging decisions, signalling, mate choice,and reproductive strategies) and explore theories that seek to understand them as the product of evolution. Students will become familiar with approaches and methods used by behavioral ecologists, and have the opportunity to develop 
novel hypotheses for (and design experiments to test) why animals, including humans, behave the way they do.Mode of teaching

Lecture-   Tuesday - in person (recorded)
               Friday - in person (recorded) 
Tutorial-   in person (mandatory)
Office hours with TA/instructor - format TBA, likely a combination of in person and zoom
Midterm - in person (crib sheet allowed) - Tues Oct 18 - 830-1030 PST 
Final - in person (crib sheet allowed) - TBA


  • Tutorial Presentation (mandatory) 14%
  • Tutorial Participation (mandatory) 6%
  • Case Studies/Problem sets (mandatory) 28%
  • Midterm (mandatory) 12%
  • Final Exam (15-40%) 27.5%
  • Project (0-25%) 12.5%


Students have different educational goals and strengths so in this course you will be able to choose how to allocate your time and how to weight marks for the final exam and a project. Everyone will sit the final exam but the exam can contribute as little as 15, and as much as 40%, of your final grade. Students can also opt to do a project that contributes up to 25% of their final grade. In combination the final exam and project will make up 40% of the grade for the course. We will post the guidelines for the project on CANVAS and discuss the grade weighting options in tutorial. We will ask students to make a decision about how you weight your grade by Fri Oct 7. By then students will have had enough exposure to the course material to decide the weighting that is best for them. For students deciding to allocate some time towards a project this will also allow sufficient time to produce a draft and receive feedback that can be incorporated into the assignment. 



Computer/notebook/tablet allowing access to the internet, the textbook and scientific papers that can be accessed through the library.


Davies, Krebs & West (2012).  An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology, 4th Edition. Wiley-

Available electronically through the library. The book can be read online and chapters can be downloaded as pdfs.
ISBN: 978-1-4051-1416-5


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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