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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Mary Olaveson

BIOA02 MODULE 3 NOTES Lec 25 Biology of Animal Behaviour I March 13 2012What is Animal Behaviour humans have always studied animal behaviorinformally animal behaviorinforms behavioural ecologystudy of how organisms make decisions that influence their survival and reproductive success study of how animals decidewhere to carry out activitiesselect resourcesrespond predators and competitorsinteract with conspecificsother members of their species in populationanimal behaviorethologyethologystudy of animal behavior in natural environments from an evolutionary prospective what are the questions that must be answered to understand and behavior 1 What is the mechanistic basis of the behavior including chemical anatomical physiological mechanisms 2 How does development of an animal influence behavior 3 What is the evolutionary history of the behavior 4 How does behavior contribute to survival and reproduction fitness How do Genes and Environment Interact genes do not encode behavior gene products ie enzyme can affect behavior by starting a series of gene environment interactions that underlie development of behavioural mechanisms experimental methods to determine how genes and environment influence behavior 1 deprivation experimentsyoung animals are reared with no experiences related to behavior 2 genetic experimentsgenome is altered by interbreeding by comparing individuals that differ by only one gene or by knocking out or inserting specific genesWhat are the Major Types of Behaviour biologists study the ways both genes and the environmentinfluence the development of behavioural phenotypes nature vs nuture issue is not about whether genes or environment influence behaviorhow are both involved chemicals that mimic hormones especially estrogen and this may be having major consequencessuggests that the build of these chemicals in feminization of various animal species and decreased quality and quantity of sperm in humans types of behavior 1 instinctive behaviorgenetically programmed responsecomplete and functional on first useinnate behavioroften highly stereotypedvariation may reflect underlying genetic differences include1 directed movements a kinesisinvolves a simple change in activity or turning rate in response to a stimulus eg pill bugschange in speed of movement b taxisis a more or less automatic oriented movement toward or away from a stimuluschange in direction of movement2 fixed action pattern FAP some behavioursexpressed only in certain conditions where an object events or condition is required to elicit a behavior releaser or sign stimulus sequence of unlearned innate behaviours that is unchangeable usually carried to completion once initiated triggered by an external sensory stimulus examples of FAPstereotypic behaviors can be adjusted by spatial cues in environmentspiders adjusts web to fit geometry of nearby structures digger wasps learn location of their nest by remembering features around it eg use landmarks in male stickleback fishsign stimulus for attack behavior is red underside of intrudereven when presented with unrealistic models with some red present on the underside attack behavior occursstickleback fish may become too exhaustive to breed in the end and these behaviours have a cost HOWthe red belly of the intruding male acts as a sign stimulus that releases aggression in a male stickleback WHYby chasing away other male sticklebacks a male decreases chance that eggs laid in his nesting territory will be fertilized by another competing males in herring gullssign stimulus for pecking behavior of chicks is a red spot on the lower beak of parentHOWthe red spot on parents beak acts as a sign stimulus that triggers pecking behavior of chick to get food WHYensures chicks get fed and survive until they can feed on their own 2 learned behaviordependent upon experiences during development is modification of behavior is based on specific prior experiences range from very simple to very complex include 1 imprintingincludes both learning and innate componentsgenerally irreversible distinguished from other types of learning by sensitive or critical perioda limited phase in development that is the only time when certain behaviors eg recognition of parents can be learned Konrad Lorenzfather of ethology studied the imprinting behaviour in geeseshort window of time where young hatchlings learn and beyond that they are stuck with genetic behaviour that is irreversiblethe goose imprints on Lorenz and follow him around and later on try to mate with humans it is important that the young imprint and recognize their parents and follow them to water hole and migration 2 habituation loss of responsiveness to stimuli that convey little or no information
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