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L01 Notes

by: Hiba Kouser

L01 Notes BIOL 4700

Hiba Kouser
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About this Document

These notes cover the material that was in the L01 Powerpoint.
Behavioral Ecology
Michael J Childress
Class Notes
Behavioral Ecology, BIOL 4700




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hiba Kouser on Wednesday January 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BIOL 4700 at Clemson University taught by Michael J Childress in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 318 views. For similar materials see Behavioral Ecology in Biology at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 01/27/16
L01: Principles i. Animal Behavior A. Pre­historical humans often made cave art that depicted animal behaviors because they  were necessary for survival  1. Oldest and most necessary form of biology B. Aristotle: wrote about animal behavior (all of his ideas were not proven true) C. Niko Tinbergen (ethologist) defined animal behavior as: total movements made by  intact animals D. Lee Alan Dugatkin (ethologist) defined animal behavior as: coordinated responses of  whole living organisms to internal and/or external stimuli 1. Coordination plays a heavy role in animal behavior ii. Four Aims of Behavioral Ecology A. These are Tinbergen’s four types of questions regarding ethology (which was a  predecessor to behavioral ecology) B. Split into two fields: 1. Proximate (how do animals behave) a. Mechanistic (how it occurs/ causation) b. Developmental (how it arises as an organism develops/acquisition) 2. Ultimate (why do animals behave this way) a. Survival value (adaptive significance) b. Evolutionary/Phylogenetics (how was this behavior been transmitted around  different species and different generations) 3. Important to not just fixate on one but to look at all of the questions  C. Example: what causes the zig­zag dance of male stickleback 1. Causation(mechanistic): presence of females that are in the right posture, have the  right body color, and girth (fixed action pattern) 2. Acquisition(developmental): correlates with sexually  mature males(can only occur  after male matures) but not really a matter of causation with high testosterone levels,  is an instinct rather than learned behavior 3. Survival Value(adaptive significance): females prefer males that zig­zag dance over  males that do not (also prefer the color red­that males adopt when ready to mate) 4. Evolutionary history: dance is shared by 5 species; the dance + red color are a unique  combo of traits iii. Historical Foundations A. Ethology (Historically ethologists focused on mechanistic causal explanations for  stereotypic behaviors 1. Konrad Lorenz (1903­1989) a. Australian zoologist b. Researched: i. Instinct­A behavior pattern that reliably develops in most individuals,  promoting a function response to a releaser stimulus the first time the action is performed.  Instincts were whole patterns of behavior such as drinking, eating, fighting, courting, literally “driven from within”. ii. Fixed Action Pattern (FAP)­ An innate, highly stereotyped response that is  triggered by a well­defined, simple stimulus; once the pattern is activated, the  response is performed in its entirety  Can be described, has a specific appearance that can be written in words iii. Innate Releasing Mechanism (IRM)­  A special (hypothetical) neurosensory  mechanism that releases the reaction and is responsible for its selective  susceptibility to a very special combination of sign stimuli iv. Imprinting­A form of learning in which individuals exposed to certain key  stimuli, usually early in life, form an association with the object and may later  show sexual behavior toward similar objects . 2. Niko Tinbergen (1907­1988) a. Dutch zoologist b. Researched i. Instinct ii. Sign Stimulus (SS)­ The effective component of an action or object that  triggers a fixed action pattern in an animal c. Developed aims of ethology B. Comparative Psychology (historically, comparative psychologists focused on mechanistic causal explanations of plastic behaviors) 1. C. Lloyd Morgan (1852­1936) a. British psychologist b. Developed Morgan’s Canon:  In no case may we interpret an action as the  outcome of the exercise of a higher mental faculty, if it can be interpreted as the  exercise of one which stands lower in the psychological scale [Don’t use a more  complicated answer for a behavior if a simpler one exists] c. Believed in operant conditioning (instrumental): A kind of learning based on trial  and error, in which an action or operant becomes more frequently performed if it  is rewarded. i. Learning that occurs when a response made by an animal is reinforced by  reward or punishment 2. John B. Watson (1878­1958) a. American psychologist b. Believed in: i. Behaviorism: a sub­discipline of psychology that studied the sum total of an  animal’s responses, reactions, or adjustments to local stimuli and how past  events affect future behavior ii. Tabla Rasa: Literally, a “blank slate” or state of the mind of an organism at  birth under the theory of behaviorism 3. Ivan Pavlov (1849­1936) a. Russian physiologist b. Helped to develop the idea of classical conditioning with his experiment  involving dogs i. Classical (Pavlovian) Conditioning: Associative learning where the pairing of  a conditioned and unconditioned stimulus to produce a unconditioned  response can lead to a conditioned response in the presence of the  unconditioned stimulus alone ii. Learning that occurs through experimental pairing of a conditioned and  unconditioned stimulus 4. Karl Von Frisch (1886­1982) a. Austrian physiologist b. Honeybee waggle dance­ form of communication between honeybees C. Evolutionary Biology 1. Charles Darwin (1809­1882) a. British naturalist b. Developed the ideas of: i. Natural Selection: Also direct selection.  The process that occurs when  individuals differ in their traits and the differences are correlated with  differences in reproductive success.  Natural selection can produce  evolutionary change when these differences are inherited ii. Sexual Selection: natural selection arising through preference by one sex for  certain characteristics in individuals of the other sex 2. William D. Hamilton (1936­2000) a. British evolutionary biologist b. Helped to develop the ideas of: i. Kin Selection­natural selection in favor of behavior by individuals that may  decrease their chance of survival but increases that of their kin (who share a  proportion of their genes) ii. Selfish herd­individuals within a population attempt to reduce their predation  risk by putting other conspecifics between themselves and predators D. Nature v. Nurture 1. Nature a. Survival value, homeostasis, lab experiments, model species, sensory bias,  Americans 2. Nurture a. Natural selection, evolutionary theory, field observations, fossil species,  evolutionary history, European iv. Foundations of Behavior A. Natural Selection B. Individual Learning C. Cultural Transmission


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