Animal behaviour: recording and analysis

Cohort: 2017, 2018

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4



Tools for marine conservation
Galway Mayo Institute of Technology


An understanding of animal behaviour is important for the management and conservation of a wide variety of marine animals. Using lectures, practical exercises and fieldtrips students will use model species to study animal behaviour.


Case studies: applications of animal behaviour in marine biodiversity and conservation;
Ethics of behavioural studies
Describing behaviour
Sampling and recording rules
Recording equipment
Behavioural software
Observing and recording animal behaviour in the field
Designing and conducting behavioural experiments
Reliability of behavioural data
Analysing observational and experimental data
Analysing social behaviour
Interpreting behavioural data and presenting results


Students on this course will learn to: (i) address questions in marine biodiversity and conservation within a behavioural framework; (ii) record the behaviour of marine animals in the field and laboratory using appropriate techniques; (iii) analyse behavioural data using dedicated software and appropriate statistical methods; (iv) interpret and present the results of behavioural analyses


Describe the application of animal behaviour in marine conservation

Design and carry out a robust behavioural study under field or laboratory conditions, having regard to sample design and ethical considerations

Analyse behavioural data using appropriate software and statistical techniques

Interpret and clearly present the results of a behavioural study


Martin P & Bateson P (2007). Measuring Behaviour: An Introductory Guide. 3 rd Edition. Cambridge University Press.

Ploger BJ & Yasukawa K (2003). Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field: An Hypothesis-Testing Approach to the Development, Causation, Function, and Evolution of Animal Behavior. Academic Press.

Stamp Dawkins M (2010). Observing Animal Behaviour: Design and Analysis of Quantitative Data. Oxford University Press.

Whitehead H (2008). Analyzing Animal Societies: Quantitative Methods for Vertebrate Social Analysis. The University of Chicago Press.

Module material placed on moodle to include:
Lecture notes
Practical instructions
Fieldwork briefing


The module is 100% continuous assessment and all assessments are formative and summative. Assessments comprise individual and group presentations, field reports, laboratory reports and practical assignments and assess all learning outcomes.

Involved teachers

Dr Martin Gammell

Contact hours

13 hours of lectures

12 hours of laboratory practicals


6 hours of computing practicals

8 hours of fieldwork to study phocid behaviour