Evolution and development of brains; sensory systems and how animals perceive the world; control of agile movement; behavioural plasticity; mechanisms of memory.
As neuroscience has advanced more and more rapidly in recent years, studies on the nervous systems of nematodes, molluscs, insects, amphibians and fish - in addition to those of reptiles, birds and mammals - have provided fascinating new information about how nervous systems are designed and how they work. ZOOL 314 examines how nervous systems have evolved; how they gather, process and integrate information to produce natural behaviours; and how they enable animals to learn from experience.
|Teaching period||Second Semester|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$1,038.45|
|International Tuition Fees (NZD)||$4,492.80|
- 54 200-level points from Science Schedule C
- Schedule C
- Teaching staff
- Associate Professor Michael Paulin
Professor Alison Mercer
- Paper Structure
- This paper is divided into two sections. The first focuses on brain evolution and
how intelligent behaviour can arise in populations of individuals following simple
rules. The second section focuses on social behaviours and their reliance on learning
and memory. Cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie behavioural plasticity
are explored within this context.
Topics covered include:
- Evolution of the first neurons and nervous systems
- Neural basis of decision making (predator-prey interactions)
- Emergent intelligence in social insects
- Neural mechanisms of learning and memory
- Hormonal effects on nervous systems and behaviour
- Textbooks are not required for this paper.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship,
Communication, Critical thinking, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
- Neurobiology students will have an understanding of neural systems, how they have evolved and how they work
- They will have an appreciation of current issues in neurobiology
- They will be able to apply critical thinking, scientific rigour and a systematic approach to investigations of animal behaviour and its neural basis
- Teaching Arrangements
- Content is available online before classes. Students are expected to turn up and discuss the 'lecture' material, which is closely linked to practical exercises.