Animal behavior

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Animal behavior

  1. 1. Animal Behavior
  2. 2. What is behavioral ecology? <ul><li>Behavioral ecology studies how behavior is controlled and how it develops, evolves, and contributes to survival </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior is everything an animal does and how it does it </li></ul>
  3. 3. Proximate and Ultimate Questions <ul><li>Proximate questions focus on the environmental stimuli that trigger behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“How” does a behavior happen? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ultimate questions focus on the evolutionary significance of a behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Why” does a behavior happen? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Fixed Action Patterns <ul><li>An FAP is a sequence of unlearned behavioral acts that is essentially unchangeable and, once started, is usually carried to completion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Triggered by a sign stimulus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example: Aggressive behavior in male stickleback fish in response to the red underside of an intruder fish </li></ul>
  5. 5. Imprinting <ul><li>Imprinting is a type of behavior that includes both learning and innate components and is irreversible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a limited phase in an animal’s development which is the only time when certain behaviors can be learned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incubator-hatched goslings imprinted on scientist (Konrad Lorenz) during first few hours of life and followed him </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Nature vs. Nurture? <ul><li>In biology, it’s not an either/or scenario </li></ul><ul><li>Genes and the environment both influence behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Innate behavior is behavior that is developmentally fixed, regardless of the environment </li></ul>
  7. 7. Directed Movements <ul><li>Directed movements are controlled by genes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kinesis = a simple change in activity or turning rate in response to a stimulus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: pillbugs live best in moist conditions; they move around more in dry areas and less in moist/humid areas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More movement increases likelihood they will encounter a moist area </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taxis = a more or less automatic, oriented movement toward or away from a stimulus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: fish swimming against the current </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Migration </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Animal Signals & Communication <ul><li>A signal is a behavior that causes a change in another animal’s behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Communication involves the transmission of, reception of, and response to signals between animals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chemical Communication: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pheromones – particularly important in reproduction behavior </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Auditory Communication: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drosophila males produce a characteristic “song” by beating their wings </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Environment & Genetics <ul><li>Environmental factors, such as the quality of the diet, the nature of social interactions, and opportunities for learning can influence the development of behaviors in every group of animals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Variations in diet led to rejection of mates in Drosophila </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Learning <ul><li>Learning is the modification of behavior based on specific experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Habituation: loss of responsiveness to stimuli that convey little or no information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“crying wolf” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spatial Learning : the modification of behavior based on experience with the spatial structure of the environment, including the location of nest sites, hazards, food, and prospective mates </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Associative Learning <ul><li>Associative learning is the ability of many animals to associate one feature of the environment with another </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Classical Conditioning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>an arbitrary stimulus is associated with a reward or punishment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pavlov’s Experiment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operant Conditioning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ trial-and-error learning” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mouse eating distateful caterpillar </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Cognition & Problem Solving <ul><li>Cognition is the ability of an animal’s nervous system to perceive, store, process, and use information gathered by sensory receptors </li></ul><ul><li>Example: monkeys & bananas on </li></ul><ul><li> string </li></ul>
  13. 13. Natural Selection & Behaviorism <ul><li>The genetic components of behavior evolve through natural selection </li></ul><ul><li>Natural selection favors behaviors that increase survival and reproductive success </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Foraging behavior – Balance between benefits of nutrition and cost of finding food (predation, energy, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cost-benefit analysis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mate selection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most animals are promiscuous </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monogamous </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Polygamous </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Altruism & Inclusive Fitness <ul><li>Most social behaviors are selfish </li></ul><ul><li>Altruism = when an animal behaves in a way that reduces its individual fitness but increases the fitness of the other individuals in the population </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: squirrels, worker bees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Helps close relatives (children, siblings, etc.), thereby increasing the individual’s genetic representation in the next generation – “inclusive fitness” </li></ul>

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