EBIO 4460 Special Topics: Animal Behavior

Instructor Contact:

Caitlin Kelly, PhD

Email: caitlin.a.kelly@colorado.edu

About the Course:

This course is an introduction to the general themes and important questions in the fascinating field of animal behavior. How do animals behave and why do they behave as they do? Students will come to understand both the historical foundations of the field and current research. There is strong emphasis on the evolution of behavior and behavioral ecology. Specific topics include cognition, learning, foraging strategies, mating systems, parenting, social behavior, and more.

Course Prerequisites: No prerequisites are required. However, EBIO 1210 and EBIO 1220 (General Biology 1 and 2), or a similar knowledge background, are strongly recommended.

Proctoring (if applicable): N/A


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  1. Define the four levels of analysis and propose explanations for a given behavior for each level.
  2. Practice collecting observational data on animals and use those data to formulate hypotheses.
  3. Describe experiments to test behavioral hypotheses in both laboratory and field settings.
  4. Discuss how animal behavior is relevant to human society.
  5. Explain how knowledge of animal behavior can inform conservation goals.
  6. Evaluate scientific primary literature with a written analysis.
  7. Apply evolutionary and ecological principles to the analysis of animal behavior.

Required Texts:

Animal Behavior, 3rd Edition. Breed and Moore, 2021 (Download for free through the CU library)

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado