Animal Behavior

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First found May 22, 2018

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Animal Behavior
Ecology 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 - how
mechanisms responsible for interactions
Ex: rooster crows because light breaks
Ultimate questions - why
how these interactions influence an
individual's survival and reproduction.
Ex: rooster crows to establish territorial rights
Ethology

Observation/Analysis of animals as they
interact in their natural environment
Some examples:
Intraspecific interactions
mate choice
Some examples:
Intraspecific interactions
male competition
Some examples:
Intraspecific interactions
alarm calls
Some examples:
Intraspecific interactions
parental care
Some examples:
Interspecific interactions
predation
Some examples:
Interspecific interactions
Symbiotic relationships
Some examples:
Interspecific interactions
compeitition
Some examples:
Interactions with the environment
foraging
Some examples:
Interactions with the environment
nest site selection
Some examples:
Interactions with the environment
signal 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?
mate choice
male-male competiton
aggressive behavior
Founders of the field of Animal Behavior
Niko
Tinbergen
Konrad
Lorenz
Karl
von Frisch
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1973
"for their discoveries concerning organization and
elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns"
Terms to Know

Innate: behavior present at birth

FIXED ACTION PATTERN



Innate behavioral response
Common to all members of species
Once initiated, continues until completion

Sign Stimulus:

External change in the environment that
triggers a Fixed Action Pattern
NATURE vs. NURTURE



Aka: Genetics vs. Environment
Aka: Innate behavior vs. Learned Behavior
What is Learning?

Behavioral changes that occur due to life
experience
special types of learning…


Habituation:
Animal learns to ignore an irrelevant
stimulus
Imprinting:
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 learning…
ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING

CLASSICAL CONDITIONING

Stimulus leads to a response that does not
normally occur as a result of that stimulus
Ivan Pavlov
“Little Albert” (1920)

OPERANT CONDITIONING



Animal learns to associate one behavior with
either REWARD or PUNISHMENT!
Reward  Repeat Behavior
Punishment  Avoidance of Behavior
Animal Movement
TAXIS
vs.
KINESIS
Social Behavior






Play
Agonistic Displays
Courtship
Batesian Mimicry (“posers”)
Mullerian Mimicry
Altruistic Displays

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