BIOL 517 (Winter)

Cognitive Ecology

(awaiting final approval)

M. Guigueno
(514) 398-2688
3 credits (3-0-6)
BIOL 307 or permission of the instructor

This course is designed to introduce upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students to the ecology and evolution of cognition and its underlying neural mechanisms, and examine links between cognition, behaviour in the wild, and the brain. This course will build upon the principles of behavioural ecology and neuroscience. As a second theme of the course, students will further develop writing and presentation skills from BIOL 307. Students will learn how to write for general and scientific audiences, and to give full lectures on topics within cognitive ecology (also known as neuroecology).

Module 1: Introduction to cognitive ecology
Module 2: Learning – Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution
Module 3: Neural representation and the evolution of signal form
Module 4: Cognitive ecology of bird song
Module 5: Cognitive ecology of spatial memory and navigation
Module 6: Cognitive ecology of mating systems
Module 7: Structural plasticity in invertebrate brains
Module 8: Evolution of large brains
Module 9: Cognition and sociality

Special Issue: Cognitive Ecology in the journal Animal Behaviour (Last updated Jan 2019)
Cognitive Ecology II, by Dukas, R. & Ratcliffe J. M. 2009, First Edition, University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226169361
Additional articles from the primary literature
Two 1.5 hr lectures per week

Assignments consisting of writing a Wikipedia article and a research proposal, an oral presentation (lecture), and participation, including evaluating peers on their oral presentation

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see for more information).

Last update: March 25, 2019