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Biology 441: 9/13/07 Last time  History of Ethology & Evolution review Today  Types of questions (Proximate vs. Ultimate)  Behavioral research methods.

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Presentation on theme: "Biology 441: 9/13/07 Last time  History of Ethology & Evolution review Today  Types of questions (Proximate vs. Ultimate)  Behavioral research methods."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Biology 441: 9/13/07 Last time  History of Ethology & Evolution review Today  Types of questions (Proximate vs. Ultimate)  Behavioral research methods Next time  Discussion: P vs. U & infanticide  Cricket set-up

3 Practice with Observation Video clip: Trials of Life #1: Arriving

4 Two types of Questions 1) How questions (proximate)  What mechanisms cause the behavior?  How is the behavior (activity) carried out?

5 Two types of Questions 1) How questions (proximate) *Operational mechanisms within the organism*

6 Two types of Questions 1) How questions (proximate) 2) Why Questions (ultimate)  Why did the animal evolve the mechanism for the behavior?  What is the ultimate function or survival value of the behavior?

7 Two types of Questions 1) How questions (proximate) 2) Why Questions (ultimate) *Evolutionary mechanisms*

8 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Proximate questions

9 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Proximate questions How do cats select which people to rub on?

10 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Proximate questions How do cats select which people to rub on? Do cats ‘rub’ at the same time every day?

11 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Proximate questions How do cats select which people to rub on? Do cats ‘rub’ at the same time every day? How does the sight of their owner lead to the muscle movements necessary to produce the rubbing behavior?

12 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Ultimate questions

13 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Ultimate questions What benefit does the cat get from rubbing your leg?

14 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Ultimate questions What benefit does the cat get from rubbing your leg? Why do cats rub on humans and not on other cats?

15 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Why does your cat rub against your leg when you come home?  Ultimate questions What benefit does the cat get from rubbing your leg? Why do cats rub on humans and not on other cats? Did this behavior exist prior to the domestication of cats?

16 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Monarch butterfly migration

17 Details of Monarch Migration (from

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22 Details of Overwintering Monarchs clustered in an Oyamel Fir tree at the Sierra Chincua overwintering site in central Mexico.

23 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Monarch butterfly migration  Proximate questions?  Ultimate questions?

24 Ultimate vs. Proximate Example: Monarch butterfly migration  Proximate questions? How do individuals ‘know’ in which direction to fly? How do they find their overwintering location? What mechanism causes them to delay breeding?  Ultimate questions? Why do they overwinter in the same spot every year? Why is it more beneficial for them to migrate 2000 miles each year than to stay in Mexico year-round?

25 Practice with Observation Video clip: Trials of Life #1: Arriving

26 Behavioral Research Methods 1. Observational Methods  Systematic recording of behavior

27 Behavioral Research Methods 1. Observational Methods  Systematic recording of behavior Multiple individuals  Marking vs. naming

28 Behavioral Research Methods 1. Observational Methods  Systematic recording of behavior Multiple individuals  Marking vs. naming Multiple times (e.g., varying seasons; day vs. night) Multiple observers Construction of Ethograms

29 Behavioral Research Methods 1. Observational Methods  Systematic recording of behavior Observation techniques  Focal animal  Scan sampling  One-zero sampling

30 Behavioral Research Methods 1. Observational Methods  Tools for studying cryptic animals Trapping Radio transmitters Fluorescent dye Animal sign

31 Behavioral Research Methods 1. Observational Methods  Goals: Generate questions and hypotheses *inability to yield causal conclusions; lack of experimental control*

32 Behavioral Research Methods 2. Experimental Methods  Manipulating something (independent variable) and measuring its affect on something else (dependent variable) while holding other factors constant Best suited for lab situations; psychology

33 Behavioral Research Methods 2. Experimental Methods  Example: Method of isolation Bird song in white-crowned sparrows

34 Behavioral Research Methods 2. Experimental Methods  Problems with laboratory studies Difficult to generalize Artificial situation affects behavior


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