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01 - Ecology: Behavior
Transcript of 01 - Ecology: Behavior
Where Are We?
Ecology is the study of organism interactions with each other and the environment.
Ecological processes occur at multiple levels of organization on Earth.
Each level of organization emerges from the processes of the level below it
Behavior is an Organism-Level phenomenon.
Anything an organism does, and how it does it.
Make Sure You Can
2 Kinds of Behaviors
Behavior Requires Communication
Particularly among animals (who tend to have the most interesting behaviors).
Communication takes many forms. It always involves a
being transmitted and recieved.
Innate behaviors are entirely under genetic control
learning requires experience
Simple Innate Behaviors
Complex Innate Behavior
5 Types of Learning
Cognition and Insight
Proximate vs. Ultimate Explanations
: relates to how a behavior occurs.
: relates to why a behavior is occurs.
How is this
Why is this
: The study of behavior
Substances in the environment, or
produced by other organisms can serve as chemical signals
Multiple lineages of animals have evolved symbolic methods of communication, where information is encoded in abstracted symbols (calls, gestures).
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 "
Swaggi? More like "Swaggle"
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 "
", and that are completed once initiated.
Ex: The aggression response in male 3-spine sticklebacks (
.) is initiated whever an object with a red underside (
.- bottom 4 objects) is presented to a male.
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 "
" where after they follow the organisms present during the period.
Ex: Imprinting in young geese and other birds.
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"
The establishment of memories that reflect the physical structure of the environment.
Ex: Association of physical markers (pine cone ring) with nest location in Digger wasps.
The spatial education of mouse 109
and interaction with other individuals.
Ex: A young chimpanzee learns to crack nuts by observing an elder.
Australian children seem really mean
Connecting one environmental feature with another.
Ex: A bluejay learns to associate eating a monarch butterfly with subsequent vomiting.
B.F. Skinner: "Operant Conditioning"
It would be unwise to think of these two things as completely separate.
1. Behavior and Genetics
2. Behavior and the Environment
3. Behavior and Fitness
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 Britain and raised in Germany.
The birds from Britain 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
: 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 aggression responses.
Behavior should increase reproductive success
Game Theory Applications
The mating system has an effect on
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 ("
Agonism in Elephant Seals
Game theory is a field of "Behavioral economics", which evaluates the advantages of different strategies.
Example: Side-blotched lizards. Three male forms:
orange-throat: most aggressive, largest territory.
blue-throat: less aggressive, smaller territory.
yellow-throat: non-territorial, sneaky maters.
Orange outcompetes blue. Blue outcompetes yellow. Yellow outcompetes Orange.
"Rock, Paper, Scissors."
Refers to any behavior that an organism engages in 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.
: 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"
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.
Why do organisms behave in particular ways?
Provide proximate and ultimate explanations for the behaviors discussed in this presentation.
Compare innate and learned behaviors and provide examples of each.
Describe how a particular behavior can evolve.
Explain how particular behaviors contribute to an organism's fitness.
Explain how altruistic behaviors can evolve in a population.
Pheromone Communication in Ants
Male stalk-eyed flies
Ex: Pavlov's Dogs response to
hearing a bell.
Trial and Error
Organism stops responding to stimuli that do not
offer worthwhile information.
Worked at the University of Minnesota
Ex: Do you always hear the clock ticking in the room?
Kinesis - random movement in response to
Taxis - directed movement toward or
away from a stimulus.
-Pack, Herd, Flock, Schools
-All increase the chance of survival