BI2044 - Ethology


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Written examination
Grade: Letters

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
Written examination 100/100 4 hours D

Course content

The focus of the course is on fundamental concepts in ethology/animal behaviour, with an emphasis on how theories on the evolution of behaviour can be put to a test empirically. The course builds on BI 1003 Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Ethology, but develops certain topics further and also addresses new ones.. A major part of the course is a student project, conducted in teams, where the current state of central and controversial issues is reviewed based on original scientific literature. The projects includes training in hypothesis testing in biology.

Learning outcome

The candidate should obtain knowledge in:
Animal behaviour and the evolution of fixed and plastic behaviours
Optimality theory and its application in foraging behaviour
Life history evolution, parental investment, parent-offspring conflict and the evolution of begging behaviour
Cooperative behaviour of animals, with particular emphasis on group living
Basic behavioural data collection and experimental design, including welfare and ethical implications
Problem-solving regarding optimal strategies through practical work

The candidate should be able to:
Identify and understand adaptationist and game theoretical approaches to selected topics
Formulate and design data collection and experiments to test scientific hypotheses
Understand and interpret empirical data as a means to explain behavioural phenomena
Present and discuss the evolution of optimal strategies, using examples from behavioural ecology

General competence
The candidate should be able to:
Use knowledge about optimal foraging, social behaviour and life histories in assessments of biological questions
Critically assess adaptive problems in behavioural ecology and the techniques used to generate hypotheses and tests
Discuss approaches to answering scientific questions based on known examples in the scientific literature

Learning methods and activities

Lectures: 20 hours
Practical and Project: mandatory

Examinations can be held orally outside teaching semester

Compulsory assignments

  • Project work

Further on evaluation

Please refer to these supplementary regulations UTF §5-6 at NTNU for information on re-sit examinations (oral and written) in science courses.
1. Final examination in each semester -for courses with prefix BI, IT and KJ a final examination is held during the examination period every semester.
2. New assessment incase of “fail” - please refer to the course description for details on which components of the course need to be retaken in case of re-assessment.

The written exam can be changed to an oral exam in the semester when the course is not taught.

Specific conditions

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
ZO2041 7.5 01.09.2011
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Intermediate course, level II


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2021

No.of lecture hours: 4
Lab hours: 3
No.of specialization hours: 4

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Ethology
  • Biodiversity
  • Biology
  • Zoology
  • Ecology
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Biology



Examination arrangement: Written examination

Term Status code Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Digital exam Room *
Autumn ORD Written examination 100/100 D INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Written examination 100/100 D INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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