Bio 102 Tutorial hand in write up - review of ecology.docx

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BISC 102, D202 | Tutorial Write up
Michelle Le #301201168
Simon Fraser University
TA: Christina Gulbransen
March 2013
Behavioral ecology studies the evolutionary basis for animal behaviour, what an
animal does and how it does it, and often reviews the survival and reproductive value of
behaviour. A particular behaviour that seems to contradict a fundamental concept of
animal behaviour is altruism, in which “animals behave in ways that reduce their
individual fitness and increase the fitness of the recipient of the behaviour” (Christina
Gulbransen 2013). Altruism could be an evolutionary adaptive trait if we consider
inclusive fitness, a term used to describe the total amount of alleles an individual
contributes to the next generation (evolutionary fitness) as well as the amount of alleles a
close relative contributes thanks to the altruist’s aid. This makes sense if we consider the
number of shared alleles between close relatives; in helping a genetic relative, an
individual may be increasing the expression of his/her alleles in the future genetic pool.
Using Hamiltons rule, we can determine if an altruistic act is beneficial to the individual
preforming the behaviour: if the co-efficient of relatedness, r, which describes the
fraction of genes shared by two individuals, multiplied by the benefit to the recipient, B,
is greater than the cost to the altruist, C, then natural selection would favour the altruistic.
Hamiltons rule is represented by rB>C. Kin selection is the term biologists use to
describe why natural selection favors altruistic behaviours when it leads to the fitness of
relatives.
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