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Unit information: Neuroethology: neural mechanisms underlying behaviour in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Neuroethology: neural mechanisms underlying behaviour
Unit code BIOL31127
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Soffe
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

BIOL20102 or equivalent (to be dsicussed with the Unit Director).

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description

How far can we explain behaviour in terms of the nervous mechanisms that produce it? This unit will focus on a few currently active research areas to illustrate cases where behaviour can be traced to its origins in the properties and connections of neurones in the nervous system. It will emphasise simpler behaviour patterns in simpler animals, ranging from jellyfish through crustacea and insects to various vertebrates. Starting with escape reactions we will move up through the operation of reflexes, the generation of rhythmic locomotor movements to the study of simple forms of learning.

Aim:

To focus on a few currently active research areas to illustrate cases where behaviour can be traced to its origins in the properties and connections of neurones in the nervous system.

Intended learning outcomes

To complete the work for this unit, students will read a number of selected recent research papers which are reviewed in the lectures. The lectures will help them to understand these original research papers and put them in context. They will appreciate the technical constraints on research, and understand the limits of our ability to explain how behaviour is generated. They will have an understanding of current issues at the frontiers of research.

Teaching details

Lectures, interactive workshops and independent study.

Assessment Details

End of Session exam (100%).

Reading and References

Most of the lecture material for the specific subjects considered in this Unit is taken from research papers and is not covered in any one textbook. You will receive a list of references for each lecture block.

As background to neuroethology you will find a range of general textbooks in the library.

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