Behavioural Ecology

There is a comparatively new discipline in biology which is ‘Behavioural Ecology’ ( It seeks to provide theoretical frameworks to answer questions about animal behaviour especially in relation to ecological context. It has proven to be a highly fruitful and fascinating area of study. The book examines how animals struggle to survive and reproduce. It shows how they exploit resources and compete for them, avoiding predators, selecting mates and caring for offspring. It also sheds light on how animal societies reflect both cooperation and conflict among individuals. Written in an engaging and lucid style, the authors explain the latest theoretical ideas using examples from micro–organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates. There are boxed sections for some topics and marginal notes help guide the reader. Reading this is like throwing open shutters from a window in Springtime after being locked in a dark cell the whole Winter through. Wonderfully educational – it could set you on a lifelong fascination with animal behaviour.

To see if this is a subject of interest to you, listen to the 45 minute R4 ‘In Our Time’ podcast, or on iPlayer at This features John Krebs (University of Oxford) as well as Rebecca Kilner (Cambridge), and Steve Jones (UCL)

520 pages in Wiley-Blackwell

4th Edition published 02 March 2012

ISBN 978-1405114165


Sir John R. Krebs having navigated the tricky waters of human

life, survived and successfully raised two daughters

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