Animal BehaviorEcology Unit
What is Animal Behavior?
The study of how and why animals interact with each other (both within and among species) and their environment.Proximate questions - howmechanisms responsible for interactionsEx: rooster crows because light breaksUltimate questions - whyhow these interactions influence an individual's survival and reproduction.Ex: rooster crows to establish territorial rights
EthologyObservation/Analysis of animals as they interact in their natural environment
Some examples:Intraspecific interactionsmate choice
Some examples:Intraspecific interactionsmale competition
Some examples:Intraspecific interactionsalarm calls
Some examples:Intraspecific interactionsparental care
Some examples:Interspecific interactionspredation
Some examples:Interspecific interactionsSymbiotic relationships
Some examples:Interspecific interactionscompeitition
Some examples:Interactions with the environmentforaging
Some examples:Interactions with the environmentnest site selection
Some examples:Interactions with the environmentsignal modification
Why study behavior?Possible first science: Our survival dependent on knowledge of other animals (prey/competitors/predators).Control/management of species: agricultural pests, invasive species, endangered species.Understanding/modification of our own behavior? Studies of how birds learn and develop songs provide unique insights into the development and neural control of speech in humans.
What can we learn about human behavior by observing animals?
Founders of the field of Animal BehaviorNikoTinbergenKonrad LorenzKarl von FrischThe Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1973"for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns"
Terms to KnowInnate:behavior present at birth
FIXED ACTION PATTERNInnate behavioral responseCommon to all members of speciesOnce initiated, continues until completion
Sign Stimulus:External change in the environment that triggers a Fixed Action Pattern
NATURE vs. NURTUREAka: Genetics vs. EnvironmentAka: Innate behavior vs. Learned BehaviorWhat is Learning?Behavioral changes that occur due to life experience
special types of learningHabituation: Animal learns to ignore an irrelevant stimulusImprinting:irreversible (usually) learning that occurs during CRITICAL PERIOD
Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989) examined genetically programmed behaviors in young and imprinting.
Young geese form an image of parent just after hatching. If the hatchlings first encounter a human, they will imprint on him and follow him around as if he were their mother.
more types of learningASSOCIATIVE LEARNINGCLASSICAL CONDITIONINGStimulus leads to a response that does not normally occur as a result of that stimulus
Little Albert (1920)
OPERANT CONDITIONINGAnimal learns to associate one behavior with either REWARD or PUNISHMENT!Reward Repeat BehaviorPunishment Avoidance of Behavior
Animal MovementTAXIS vs.KINESIS
Social BehaviorPlayAgonistic DisplaysCourtshipBatesian Mimicry (posers)Mullerian MimicryAltruistic Displays