Evolutionary Ecology
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Teaching Dingemanse

Coordinator: Niels Dingemanse

Lecture course on basic principles in behavioural ecology. Course follows the structure of the Introduction to behavioural ecology by Davies, Krebs & West. Topics include mechanisms of behaviour, optic and acoustic communication, choosing where to live, foraging and optimality, sexual selection & mating systems, parental care & conflict, and altruism & cooperation.

Students can sign up by emailing the coordinator (n.dingemanse@lmu.de).

Experimental Behavioural Ecology (Summer Semester, MSc-level course)
This course in inactive for the summer semester 2017

Coordinator: Niels Dingemanse

The experimental behavioural ecology course concentrates on study design and how to collect unbiased and interpretable data in the field of behavioural ecology. The course consists of nine days (Wednesday – Friday for three weeks in a row, typically end of June / beginning of July). Two topics are addressed in the first six days (three days each), both requiring extensive data collection either in the field or in the laboratory. The 7th day is used for data analyses, the 8th day for preparation of a final presentation given on the 9th day.

Students can sign up by emailing the coordinator (n.dingemanse@lmu.de).top

Current Topics in Behavioural Ecology (Summer Semester, MSc-level course)

Coordinator: Niels Dingemanse

This MSc-level course concentrates on current topics in the field of behavioural ecology. On each course day, a research scientist working on a current topic presents an overview of the field, followed by a practical demonstration and a discussion of key papers. Each student attends five (whole day) course days, and prepares prior to the onset of a focal course day by reading 2-3 key papers based on which 2-3 questions should be prepared. Paper discussion takes place during the course days, after which students write a 1-2 page essay on the topic of each of the attended course days.

The majority of the research scientists involved in the course work at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, where most course days take place. The course thereby represents a means to strengthen (“bridge”) the links between the LMU and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. Time table of the course is consequently adjusted such that students can reach and depart from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology by public transport. The exact timing of each course day in the summer semester is decided between teachers and students prior to the onset of the course, such that overlap with other courses is avoided.

The following current topics were addressed in the summer semester 2014: behavioural ecology of metabolism, sexual selection, sensory ecology, chemical ecology, animal personality, gestural signalling, evolutionary physiology, the scientific approach, and urban ecology.

Students can sign up by emailing the coordinator (n.dingemanse@lmu.de). 

EES-excursion (Summer semester, MSc-level course)top

Behavioural Ecology meets Quantitative Genetics (Semester break, 3 ECTS, MSc-level course)T
This course in inactive

Coordinator: Niels Dingemanse

In this course, students are trained in modern evolutionary behavioural ecology, which strongly focuses on the integration of classic behavioural ecology with other fields of evolutionary biology such as quantitative genetics. Students receive lectures on theory and concepts, are trained in the (statistical) methods necessary for their study, and apply these methods to answer specific questions. Topics include environmental and genetic underpinning of behaviour, the multivariate nature of behaviour, social behaviour and interacting phenotypes, and behavioural traits as latent variables.

Uni- and multivariate mixed-effects models are the central statistical tools applied in this study. See Dingemanse & Dochtermann (2013) for an overview of the topics discussed in the course.

The course runs for 9 whole days (We – Fr for three weeks in a row) in the break between the winter and summer semester (typically last weeks of February, first weeks of March).

Students work in pairs on a single data set throughout the course, acquire a deep understanding of the discussed themes and the sophisticated software packages by “doing it him/herself”, and present their findings both daily as well as an integrative overview at the end of the course.

Students can sign up by emailing the coordinator (n.dingemanse@lmu.de).