Coral Reef Ecology Laboratory - Professor Mark Ian McCormick

Mark McCormack Reef Fish Ecology

MB5430:Marine Animal Behaviour

School of Marine and Tropical Biology

James Cook University, Townvillle, QLD 4811



This is a course that introduces students to the methods studying the behaviour of marine animals and gives them an overview of the present status of research on the behaviour of marine animals. An understanding of behaviour of animals sets the foundation for detailed studies that examine processes that determine abundance patterns through time. Behavioural studies are also crucial for the sensible interpretation of the mechanisms underlying the processes that are responsible for generating patterns.

There are two main goals of this course: (1) to present the key processes that affect animal behaviour (internal mechanisms, development, social interactions, ecology and evolution) and their significance; (2) to show how to formulate questions about behaviour and collect information in a structured and analysable format.

The fitness (lifetime reproductive success) of individuals is determined by:
1) their use of space – where they live and reproduce;
2) their foraging abilities;
3) their reproductive activities;
4) predator avoidance and evasion.

This course is run in even years in July as a Masters Intensive (2 week) course. There is a 5d fieldtrip to Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef.  The last course run included students from 20 different countries.


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