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Why Study Animal Behaviour?

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Why Study Animal Behaviour? Chapter 1/ 2 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why Study Animal Behaviour?


1
Why Study Animal Behaviour?
  • Chapter 1/ 2

2
  • Behavior is the link between organisms and
    environment, and between the nervous system and
    the ecosystem. Behavior is that part of an
    organism by which it interacts with its
    environment.Behavior is as much a part of an
    organism as its coat, wings, etc.. The beauty of
    an animal includes its behavioral
    attributes. Charles T.
    Snowden, past President, Animal
    Behaviour Society

3
Why study it?
  • curiosity about the natural world
  • learn about relationships between animals their
    environment
  • establish general principles common to all
    behaviour
  • better understand human behaviour
  • desire to preserve and maintain the environment

4
Why study it?
  • conserve and protect endangered spp
  • control economically costly pests
  • Agriculture and animal domestication
  • (see Guns, Germs and Steel J. Diamond)

5
Elements of the study...
  • Behavioural Genetics Evolution
  • How do genes affect behaviour? (What genes? What
    behaviours?-complicated)
  • E.g., population differences in behavioural
    visibility of web-building spiders
  • or the over-wintering/migratory behaviour of
    monarch butterflies

6
Elements of the study...
  • Mechanisms of Behaviour
  • What anatomy/physiology underlies behaviour?
  • E.g., How do sharks detect prey?
  • Olfaction, vision, electric organs

7
Elements of the study...
  • Finding Food Shelter
  • Why do animals live where they do why do they
    eat what they do?
  • E.g., Rodents can assess the quality and quantity
    of food in a path (Brown et al. 1992)
  • E.g., Common murres (Uria aalge) are philopatric,
    i.e., return to their natal territory (Gaston et
    al., 2000)

8
Elements of the study...
  • Social Organization and Mating
  • What different patterns of social organization
    exist among animals? Why?
  • E.g., Jacanna (birds) females leave males to
    solely incubate eggs while they seek multiple
    mates (polyandry).
  • Vs. Red-winged blackbird in which some males have
    multiple females on their territory (polygyny)

9
Tinbergens Four Questions about Behaviour
  • Niko Tinbergen (1907-1988)
  • What are the mechanisms that cause it?
  • How does it develop?
  • What is its survival value?
  • How did it evolve?

10
Proximate vs. Ultimate causation
Proximate Causes How Questions - Tinbergens
questions 1 2 1) What are the mechanisms that
cause behaviour? Genetic-developmental
mechanisms (e.g., interaction of genes and
environment during development) 2) How does
behaviour develop? Sensory-motor mechanisms
11
Proximate vs. Ultimate causation
  • Ultimate Causes
  • Why Questions -Tinbergens questions 3 4
  • 1) History of a behaviour (its origin and change
    over time)
  • 2) Past effects of natural selection on shaping a
    current behaviour (utility of behaviour in
    reproductive terms)

12
(No Transcript)
13
The History of the study
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) Alfred Russel
    Wallace (1823-1913)
  • independently formulated the theory of evolution
    by natural selection
  • The Origin of Species was published in 1859 by
    Darwin provided the conceptual framework for
    field of animal behaviour ( the rest of
    biology).

14
Basic Tenants of Natural Selection (from
Goodenough, et al., 1993)
  • There is variation among individuals within a
    species and some of this variation is inherited.

15
Basic Tenants of Natural Selection (from
Goodenough, et al., 1993)
  • Most offspring produced by animals do not survive
    to reproduce.
  • Some individuals survive longer and produce more
    offspring than others, as a consequence of their
    particular inherited characteristics.

16
Basic Tenants of Natural Selection (from
Goodenough, et al., 1993)
  • NS is the differential survival and reproduction
    of individuals due to genetically-based variation
    in their behaviour, morphology, physiology, etc.
  • Evolutionary change occurs as the heritable
    traits of successful individuals are spread
    throughout the population, while those traits of
    less successful individuals are lost.

17
  • Behaviour is as subject to evolutionary selective
    pressures as is anatomy physiology.
  • Recognized by Darwin, but still not as well
    accepted as youd think!
  • ALERT Evolution is not random
  • (The Blind Watchmaker, R. Dawkins)

18
Animal Behaviour
Behavioural Ecology Socio-biology
Comparative Psychology
Time
Ethology
Perceptual Psych Functionalism Physiological
Psych Behaviourism Animal Psych
Evolution
19
Forerunners to Animal Behaviour
  • ETHOLOGY
  • European
  • zoology-based
  • field-oriented
  • focus on evolution and function
  • innate behaviours (Fixed Action Patterns)
  • Lorenz, Tinbergen, von Frisch
  • COMP. PSYCH.
  • North American
  • psychology-based
  • lab-oriented
  • focus on mechanism and development
  • learned behaviours (e.g., Skinner boxes)
  • Thorndike, Watson

20
Comparative Psychology
  • G.J. Romanes (1848-1894)- studied animals to gain
    insight into human behaviour comparative method
  • C.L. Morgan (1852-1936) Morgans Canon (Law of
    Parsimony) In no case may we interpret an
    action as the outcome of a higher psychical
    faculty if it can be interpreted as the outcome
    of the exercise of one which stands lower in the
    psychological scale. (Morgan, 1896)

21
Ethology
  • Concepts
  • ethograms (Fig. 3.2 in text)
  • appetitive/ consummatory behaviour
  • sign stimuli
  • Umwelt (von Uexkülls tick)

22
Behavioural Ecology
  • A focus on the survival value of behaviour
    interaction between the animals real-life
    environment and behaviour is important
  • a turn to mechanism?
  • composite of psychology/biology (lab field)
  • many studies on foraging strategies, reproduction

23
Sociobiology
  • Edward O. Wilson Sociobiology The New Synthesis
    (1975)
  • application of evolutionary biology to social
    behaviour (ants----gthumans)
  • hotly debated critics like R.C.Lewontin (cooled
    somewhat)

24
Summary
  • AB links organism and environment
  • Reasons for study
  • Diverse elements of study
  • Tinnbergens Four Questions
  • Evolution by Natural Selection
  • Components of AB
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