We will look at the classic work of Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen and others, discussing the models of instinct and evolution at play. The workshop will focus upon the methods invented and deployed throughout the development of this field.
The workshop will explore evolution as a kind of change caused by natural selection and genetic drift. We will look at the development of evolutionary theory from Darwin, through the Modern Synthesis, right up to modern debates around evolutionary developmental biology. Examples will be focused upon the behavioural phenotype, but we will also discuss non-behavioural aspects when appropriate.
Behavioural catalogues, ethograms, sample coverage, and general field practice will be covered. We will generate some simple questions about the behaviour of readily observable animals and then we will generate some basic protocols for collecting data. We will also introduce you to Observer XT software for behavioural analysis.
In this workshop we will design and run a number of short data collection protocols with a focus upon the kind of data collected and the kind of statistical analyses that are most suited. We will then analyse the data and discuss the limitation of the work.
There will be a two-week field trip to Lundy, an island off the north Devon coast. This will be an opportunity to collect data for your thesis as well as an opportunity to put into practice all that you have learnt during the workshops. The trip will consist of fieldwork and evening seminars and discussions arising from each day’s work. There are also on-going projects on the island which you can contribute to.
You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.