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Animal Behavior Research Methods David Shepherdson

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Animal Behavior Research Methods David Shepherdson Oregon Zoo Examples of Zoo Research Behavioral estrous determination - pandas, tigers, rhino Effect of hand rearing ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Animal Behavior Research Methods David Shepherdson


1
Animal BehaviorResearch MethodsDavid
Shepherdson
Oregon Zoo
2
Examples of Zoo Research
  • Behavioral estrous determination - pandas,
    tigers, rhino
  • Effect of hand rearing on development of
    chimpanzees
  • Evaluation of floor substrates for elephants
  • Evaluation of enrichment techniques
  • Olfactory communication in elephants
  • Juvenile pygmy rabbit aggression
  • Stereotypic Behavior Stress in Polar Bears

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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
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Types of Study
  • Observational
  • variables not manipulated, behavior correlated
    with environmental variables, "natural
    experiments"
  • Experimental
  • variables are systematically varied by
  • experimenter

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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
11
Reconnaissance Observations
  • what do the animals do
  • time of day best suited
  • recording techniques

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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
13
Ethogram Construction
  • A list of defined behaviors that can be
    quantified and easily recognized by different
    observers (observer reliability/repeatability)
  • Objective definitions describe behavior, e.g..,
    "Locomotion"
  • Functional definitions define behavior in terms
    of its function, e.g.., searching, playing"
  • Mutually exclusive (often)
  • Comprehensive (often)

14
Elephant Ethogram
Interaction Physical contact between two
elephants Walk Quadrupedal locomotion more than
3 feet in previous 5 seconds Run Fast
walk Stand still Standing stationary on all four
legs, less than 3 feet of movement in prev. 5
secs. Eat Consuming food item, includes
conveying food item from to mouth Drink Consumi
ng water Explore touch trunk to inanimate
object Social Any physical contact between
elephants Other describe Out of sight
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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
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Measures of Behavior
  • Latency, Frequency, Duration, Intensity
  • Events States
  • Bouts
  • Sequence

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Choosing A Sampling Method
  • Two Major Decisions to Make
  • Which subject to watch when
  • Ad Libitum
  • Focal
  • Scan
  • Behavior Sampling
  • How to record the behavior
  • Continuous
  • Time sampling
  • Instantaneous Point Sampling
  • One-Zero

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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
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Recording Medium
  • Film/Video
  • Tape recorder
  • Check Sheets
  • Computer (PC, lap-top, palm)

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Check Sheet Design
  • Simple
  • Include catch all categories such as
  • Out of sight
  • Other
  • Date, Observer, Weather, Notes
  • Summation columns

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Data Collection
  • How much to collect?
  • Variability
  • Generalisability
  • Duration of observations
  • Observer fatigue/reliability
  • Inter-Observer reliability

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Sources of Unreliability
  • Inter Observer Reliability - different observers
    recording different things
  • Intra-Observer Reliability - same observer
    records behaviors differently over time,
    "observer drift"
  • Record What You See
  • Observer fatigue

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Reliability can be increased by
  • Good, simple, Ethogram
  • Observer Training
  • Observer Testing
  • Fewer observers

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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
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Steps Involved in Conducting a Behavioral
Research Study
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David Shepherdson Ph.D.
  • Shepherdsond_at_metro.dst.or.us
  • 503-220-5765

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Research methods video
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