Animal Behavior Alcock 10th Pdf 12
In behavioral ecology, the concept of behavioral syndromes, i.e. suites of correlated behaviors, has aided quantification of animal behavioral types and their integration into ecological and evolutionary studies . Analogously, we aim to quantitatively characterize movement syndromes, i.e. suites of correlated movement traits , such as migration or nomadism [13, 15]. A rapidly growing body of movement studies has generated a number of promising methods and metrics to differentiate movement patterns [16,17,18], but few empirical studies have tested the utility of these metrics across multiple species, let alone highly diverse vertebrate taxa . Different taxa not only have different modes of movement (e.g., swimming versus terrestrial locomotion), but also move across spatial and temporal scales that differ by orders of magnitude. Thus, a unified framework for characterizing movement syndromes requires an examination across a range of taxa, movement modes, and body sizes.
animal behavior alcock 10th pdf 12
While we cannot ground-truth the classification of each study animal in our dataset, their assignments are consistent with how we understand their movement processes, such as the tortoise assignments described above , northern elephant seals performing long-distance migrations , and California sea lions making repeated foraging trips from their breeding colony . A priori predictions for individual African wild dogs, lions and cheetahs based on behavioral observations made during movement data collection also match their classifications (Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, personal communication). Because the classification scheme is determined by our syndrome simulations, assignments may exist that are contrary to expectations and these may prompt deeper investigation into the ecology of the study system. For example, all of the California sea lions in our dataset were breeding females restricted to central place foraging and were correctly assigned as CPFs except one: this individual exhibited foraging trips an order of magnitude greater in distance than its conspecifics, and as a result was classified as a migrant (Table 2; see Additional file 3: Figure S5 for movement paths). This result could subsequently direct researchers to more closely examine the behavior and ecology driving this intraspecific variation in foraging patterns.
In this article, I review the approach taken by behavioral ecologists to the study of animal foraging behavior and explore connections with general analyses of decision making. I use the example of patch exploitation decisions in this article in order to develop several key points about the properties of naturally occurring foraging decisions. First, I argue that experimental preparations based on binary, mutually exclusive choice are not good models of foraging decisions. Instead, foraging choices have a sequential foreground-background structure, in which one option is in the background of all other options. Second, behavioral ecologists view foraging as a hierarchy of decisions that range from habitat selection to food choice. Finally, data suggest that foraging animals are sensitive to several important trade-offs. These trade-offs include the effects of competitors and group mates, as well as the problem of predator avoidance.
This course focuses on understanding the evolution of behavior. The course willbegin with a discussion of how natural selection operates to produce adaptationsand how phylogenetic information can be used to reconstruct the evolution of behaviorsamong groups of animals. Since evolution requires genetic change, we will then examineevidence that genes influence behavior and learn how to measure their effects. Wewill examine a few case studies to see how genes influence behavior through theireffects on hormones and neuronal development.Genes, however, are inadequate to describeall behavioral change because of the inherent flexibility of behavior. For this reasonwe will discuss the conditions under which nongenetic modes of transmission, suchas learning and imitation, should evolve.In the next part of the course predictionsabout which behavior to expect in a particular ecological or social setting willbe made by using a variety of optimization techniques such as optimization and gametheory. We will learn how to predict when competition among animals for space, food,and mates should lead to behavioral and morphological adaptations. We will also discoverthe situations that favor cooperative or altruistic behavior and discuss when communicationin animals should be honest or dishonest.Throughout the course we will consider howthe study of animal behavior may help us to understand our own behavior as well asto better conserve threatened or endangered species..
GRANT PROPOSAL: The remaining portion of yourgrade will be based on a report, not longer than 5 single-spaced type-writtenpages (excluding references), which will be written in the form of a grantproposal. Any topic which is related to animal behavior can be chosen, even ifit was not discussed in class. Five copies ofthese reports must be handed in absolutely no later than November 28.
HINTS FOR DISCUSSION PREPARATION: The intent of weekly discussions is to help you learn to think critically and speakconfidently about animal behavior research. You should try to understand the assignedmaterial and uncover its strengths and weaknesses by drawing on what you have learnedto date. Identify the main points and critically examine the data and logic the authorsuse to support their conclusions. Don't be intimidated by statistical or scientificterms you do not understand. Just because this paper was published does not meanthat it is necessarily correct. Your responsibility is not only to understand theresearch, but to evaluate its importance and quality. By the end of the term youshould have a better appreciation for the kind of research currently being conductedon animal behavior and for the process scientists use to reach general conclusions,such as those described in the text.
GRANT PROPOSAL SUGGESTIONS: The grant proposal is a chance for you to explore in greater depthanything you have discovered or always thought was interesting about animal behavior.I want you to be creative and try to come up with a problem that either has not beentreated in sufficient depth, which has been ignored, or appears to be involved insome kind of controversy. Be problem-oriented, not organism-oriented. If you areunable to pick a suitable organism for testing your ideas, come see me or the TA.We will be glad to discuss this assignment with you.
Choice of TopicBe problem-oriented, not animal-oriented. Good research in animal behavior providesanswers to general questions that apply to many animal species. At least three differentstyles of presentation can be successful. One particularly effective method is tofocus on an area of controversy. Examples of such areas are honest vs deceptive advertisement,good genes vs nonadaptive models of sexual selection, evolution of eusociality throughparental manipulation of sibling cooperation, etc. Frequently, controversy existsbecause conflicting theories have been proposed in the absence of supporting data.A good grant proposal reviews the theory sufficiently to identify the kind of datanecessary to discriminate between competing hypotheses. An alternative approach isto reexamine a traditional idea from a new perspective. This often means challengingwhat is commonly viewed as conventional wisdom. As an example, Wynne-Edwards notionof group selection clearly challenged the traditional view of Darwinian natural selectionand stimulated extensive thinking about levels of selection and the evolution ofaltruistic behavior. This particular example illustrates, though, that if you overstateyour case, as Wynne-Edwards did, you lose credibility. The third approach is to extendprevious studies in new directions or to a finer level of analysis. Tom Seeley'swork on honeybee language, learning and communication, which built upon the classicstudies of von Frisch, is a fine example of how progress can be made by continuingto pursue a single area over a long time period. Regardless of which approach youdecide to adopt, use as your ultimate criterion how much you like the subject. Ifyou can't get excited about it, you won't be able to convince anyone else to giveyou money.Identify a central question around which to build your grant proposal. This is withoutdoubt the most difficult part of this assignment. You should consider the book asa good starting place to look for potential grant proposal topics. You should alsorefer to the references at the end of my lecture outlines if you want to pursue alecture topic in your grant proposal. If nothing you like easily comes to mind, goto the current periodicals room of McKeldin library, and browse through all the latestissues of the behavior journals such as Animal Behavior, Proceedings of the RoyalSociety of London, series B, Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, Ethology, BehavioralEcology and Sociobiology, Ethology and Sociobiology, Behavioral Genetics, AmericanNaturalist, Evolution, Evolutionary Ecology and Journal of Animal Ecologyor review journals such as Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Annual Reviewof Ecology and Systematics, Quarterly Review of Biology, or Oxford Surveysin Evolutionary Biology. Then, if you find an article that sounds interesting,read it, and read some of the references that are cited in it. You should be ableto trace an idea back to its origin by just reading a handful of articles and quicklydecide if the topic is suitable for a grant proposal. After you identify a topic,try to develop a central question, e.g. why do large white wading birds often formforaging groups? While much of the material in this course centers on "why"questions that inquire into the adaptive significance of behavioral traits, you shouldnot feel inhibited from asking more mechanistic questions, e.g. how do some batsmanage to fly hundreds of miles from nursery colonies to winter hibernation sitesand successfully return to the exact same site where they were born? Notice thatboth of my questions specified particular animals even though the ideas, group foragingand migration, are very general topics in animal behavior. You must also decide onan appropriate animal group to investigate after you have decided on a question.This requires careful thought because the animal you choose dictates, to a largeextent, the kind of observations or experiments that can be performed. If you decideon a question, for example why do some animals seek extra-pair copulations?, butcannot think of an appropriate organism, come see me or send me email. I am mostfamiliar with terrestrial vertebrates and insects, but I may have access to moresources on other animal groups than you can find easily. Do not choose an organismat random. You should be able to justify both your study question and animal. Thus,you should be able to claim, without too much imagination, that this animal is betterthan any other for investigating the topic you have chosen.List Alternative HypothesesAfter picking a question and organism you should attempt to ennumerate all possiblealternative hypotheses which can answer your original question. Typically, one ofthese will be a null hypothesis which often states that the observed pattern is dueto chance, rather than as a consequence of past selection. You should present thesehypotheses without bias, i.e. do not state that you believe one over the others unlessyou have direct evidence for making such a conclusion. The purpose of your researchshould be to test between these hypotheses. For the group foraging question, forexample, you might suggest that being in a group somehow decreases predation on individualsor alternatively, increases each bird's foraging success. Note that these particularexamples are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, this is often the case in biologyand consequently, you usually need to test both alternatives, not just one. Onceyou have suggested as many alternatives as you can you should devise experimentalor observational tests that allow you to unambiguously reject as many of these hypothesesas possible. If you initially propose a correlative study, i.e. observations on unmanipulatedfree-ranging animals, you should also suggest experiments that will identify causalrelationships. Such a combination of observational and experimental studies oftenleads to the most convincing results.OrganizationThe following outline and page lengths are merely a suggestion. If your projectmore easily fits another format, feel free to use it. However, you should cover allof these topics in your proposal and write no more than 5, single-spaced typewrittenpages. References cited, figures and tables can be included in addition to the 5pages of text.Purpose and Objectives: (1/2 page) This introductory section can be very brief- a single paragraph is often enough. Most people state the underlying question andthen describe how they will answer it, i.e. will this be lab work, field studies,both, etc. Alternative hypotheses can be included here, but they often make moresense in the Proposed Work section after more background has been provided.Background: (1 page) This often consists of two parts: a review of relevanttheoretical and empirical studies and justification for why the animal system whichyou plan to use was chosen. This section should be sufficiently detailed to enablethe reader to place your study in the broader context of related work and make itclear why your study is needed or will be important. If you have pilot data thatrelates to the proposed experiments, this is the appropriate place to include anddiscuss it.Proposed Work: (2 pages) This should be a description of the experiments,observations, and analyses you propose to conduct to test your alternative hypothesesand answer your original question. Enough detail is needed to show you know whatyou are talking about and to convince the reader that these are practical thingsto do in the time period of the grant . Ideally, this should be a logical progressionof experiments such that the results from one influence the next. Clearly state howeach experiment or observation addresses each hypothesis. For this paper, you neednot worry about time limits, but try to think about 1 to 3 year time periods. Ina formal proposal you should be conscious of statistical design and include suchdetails as sample sizes and appropriate statistical procedures you plan to use toevaluate the results of each experiment. You needn't worry about statistics for thisproposal. If you propose to do several different experiments or have multiple observationperiods, you should consider including a table that clearly outlines the scheduleyou plan to follow. The more organized you appear to be, the more likely a reviewerwill believe that you can accomplish what you propose.Potential Results: (1 page) This is an optional section in which you predictthe outcome of each experiment. You should attempt to interpret the results of eachexperiment such that you can foresee each possible outcome. Preferably, it shouldbe made clear that exciting results will be forthcoming no matter what result youobtain.Impact: (1/2 page) How will your results affect the big picture? Who shouldcare about what you discover and why? Why should someone give you money rather thancontribute money to find a cure for AIDS? These are hard questions, but every scientisthas to be able to justify why their research is of value. This need not require anykind of immediate benefit nor relate to improving human living conditions. The questfor knowledge is sufficient if you can provide evidence (i.e. list recent relevantreferences) that lots of people are also interested in the same problem.References: You should use citations in the text, e.g. (Smith, 1996), wheneveryou mention the results or ideas of a previous study. I expect you to locate primaryreferences, i.e. original research articles published in journals, rather than secondaryreferences, i.e. summaries of studies from textbooks, review articles, or articleswritten for a lay audience, such as newspaper or popular magazine articles. Any articlescited in the text must be fully referenced in a literature cited section at the endof your paper. You should adopt a consistent format for these references. A goodexample is provided by the journal Animal Behaviour at the end of every article.You can also adopt the format I use in my lecture outlines.Dos and Don'tsDos: Create subdivisions within sections to highlight topics and improve readability.Include figures that convey information simply and dramaticallyInclude a flowchart to link experiments if more than three or four are planned.Hand in five copies of your proposal.Don'ts: Go beyond page limits.Miss deadline for submission.Make grammatical or typographical errors.Write for the specialist; rather, write for the informed lay person.Forget to summarize importance of project at the end of the proposal.EvaluationEach student will submit five copies of their proposal. Three of your classmateswill read and comment on your proposal. During the last two discussion section meetingswe will discuss our reviews and the class will rank the proposals and recommend thebest for funding. The instructions for reviewers follows. This is very much likethe process used by governmental organizations, such as the National Science Fondation,when they solicit reviews from external sources.Please provide a frank, critical appraisal of this project proposal. Evaluate thegrant on creativity in choice of subject and design of research, adequacy of experimentalor observational protocol in testing hypotheses, logic and clarity of presentation,and potential impact of the research on the scientific community as well as on society.Use the scale at the bottom of the page to categorize your overall impression ofthe proposal. If you do not sign the proposal, your comments will be returned tothe applicant anonymously.___ Excellent _____ Very good ____ Good ____ Fair ____ Poor