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Animal Behavior

Image Credits: Biology (Campbell) 9th edition, copyright Pearson 2011, & The InternetProvided under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Original by David Knuffke
by

Christopher Himmelheber

on 25 April 2014

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Transcript of Animal Behavior

Animal Behavior
Anything an animal does, and how it does it.
Two Types of Behaviors
Innate
Learned
Behavior Evolves
Behavior Requires Communication
Communication takes many forms. It always involves a
signal
being transmitted and recieved.
Chemical Signals
Symbolic Signals
Innate behaviors are entirely under genetic control
learning requires experience
Simple Innate Behaviors
Complex Innate Behavior
Imprinting
5 Types of Learning
Spatial
Cognition
Associative
Social
Proximate vs. Ultimate Explanations
Proximate:

how
a behavior occurs

Ultimate:
why
a behavior is occurs

How is this
happening?
Why is this
happening?
Ethology:

The study of behavior
Substances in the environment, or
pheromones
produced by other organisms can serve as chemical signals
Multiple lineages of animals have evolved symbolic methods of communication, where information is encoded in abstract symbols
Ex: Minnows in a tank responding to an alarm substance (a chemical on the skin of a predatory fish).
Ex: Honeybee workers communicate the location of nectar sources to hive mates via a
"waggle dance"
.
Symbolic communication has increased in complexity and diversity over evolutionary time.
Chemical signals can contribute to very complex behaviors (e.g. ant colonies).
Fixed Action Patterns:
Highly stereotypical behaviors that are triggered by a "
sign stimulus
", and that are completed once initiated.
Ex: The aggression response in male 3-spine sticklebacks (
a
.) is initiated whenever an object with a red underside (
b
.- bottom 4 objects) is presented to a male.
Proximate explanations?
Ultimate explanations?
While there is a limit on the amount of behavioral complexity that can be genetically programmed, there are many examples of complex innate behaviors.
Ex: Mating rituals in Drosophila involve several distinct and complex behaviors.
Graphic Sexual Content
Young animals go through a "
critical period
" whereafter they follow the organisms present during the period.
Ex: Imprinting in young geese and other birds.
Proximate explanations?
Ultimate explanations?
Footage of Lorenz and his geese
Refers to the most complex types of learned behavior, that rely upon multiple mental processes (awareness, recall, reasoning, evaluation) to accomplish.
Ex: An experiment that demonstrates support for the hypothesis that honeybees can remember and distinguish "same" from "different"
Proximate explanations?
Ultimate explanations?
The establishment of memories that reflect the physical structure of the environment.
Ex: Association of physical morkers (pinecone ring) with nest location in Digger wasps.
The spatial education of mouse 109
Proximate explanations?
Ultimate explanations?
Learning through observation and interaction with other individuals.
Ex: A young chimpanzee learns to crack nuts by observing an elder.
Proximate explanations?
Ultimate explanations?
Australian children seem really mean
Connecting one environmental feature with another.
Ex: A bluejay learns to associate eating a monarch butterfly with subsequent vomiting.
Proximate explanations?
Ultimate explanations?
B.F. Skinner: "Operant Conditioning"
It would be unwise to think of these two things as completely seperate.
1. Behavior and Genetics
2. Behavior and the Environment
3. Behavior and Fitness
4. Altruism
What is the relationship between an organism's genetics and its behaviors?
There is always a relationship. Even if it is just for the ability to learn.
Example 1: Insect Calls
Example 2: Migration
There are many species of Green Lacewing which are morphologically identical.

They can be hybridized in the lab.
Hybrid lacewings have songs that have combined characteristics of both parental species.
Young Blackcap birds were captured in Brittain and raised in Germany.
The birds from Brittain demonstrated a migratory preference different from native, German, Blackcaps
What is the relationship between an organism's genetics and its environment?
Environmental constraints determine fitness, which includes behavior.
Example 1: Foraging
Foraging
: Food-obtaining behavior.

Natural selection should favor minimized energetic cost, and maximized food acquisition ("
optimal foraging theory
")
Crows demonstrate a food drop preference that is energetically optimized.
Drosophila raised in different population densities evolve different foraging path lengths.
Example 2: Parental Influence
Learned behaviors have to be taught.
Mice cross-fostered by other species show differences in agression responses.
Behavior should increase reproductive success
Mating Systems
Parental Care
Sexual Selection
Game Theory Applications
The mating system has an effect on
sexual dimorphism
in a species
Parental care is influenced by the certainty of paternity
Mate preference of females can drive the evolution of male behavior.
Male competition for mates can have similar effects ("
agonistic behavior
")
Female zebra finches raised by ornamented males prefer ornamented mates.
"Mate-choice copying":
Female guppies prefer more orange males...unless a less orange male is in courtship with a female. In which case, female guppies prefer that male.
Agonism in Elephant Seals
I wish males fought like this in DPHS!
...they kind of do...
Game theory is a field of "Behavioral economics", which evaluates the advantages of different strategies.
Exaple: Side-blotched lizards. Three male forms:
orange-throat: most agressive, largest territory.
blue-throat: less agressive, smaller territory.
yellow-throat: non-territorial, sneaky maters.

Orange outcompetes blue. Blue outcompetes yellow. Yellow outcomptest Orange.

"Rock, Paper, Scissors."
Refers to any behavior which increases the fitness of other organisms while decreasing its own fitness.
Example: vervet monkeys sound alert calls in response to predators.
How can this be explained?
Relatedness. Altruism evolves in populations of closely related individuals.

Inclusive fitness
: anything that increases proliferation of an organism's genes (not necessarily by the organism).
"I would lay down my life for 2 siblings or eight cousins"
-JBS Haldane
Female ground squirrels live closer to their birthplace, where relatives engage in altruistic warning behaviors.
When attacked, members of Naked Mole Rat colonies will sacrifice themselves to preserve the life of the breeding "Queen". All colony members are siblings/cousins.
Pheromone Communication in Ants
Agression and the Betta fish
Proximate explanations?
Ultimate explanations?
Male stalk-eyed flies
Other Forms of Visual Communication
Active Communication
Passive Communication
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