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Chapter 53

CHAPTER 53: BEHAVIOUR AND BEHAVIOURAL ECOLOGY

15 Pages
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Department
Biological Sciences
Course Code
BIOA02H3
Professor
Kamini Persaud

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CHAPTER 53: BEHAVIOUR AND BEHAVIOURAL ECOLOGY
53.1 What Questions Do Biologists Ask About Behaviour?
Ethology the study of animal behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.
Proximate mechanisms that underlie behaviour are the neuronal, hormonal,
and anatomical mechanisms.
Most behaviours result from complex interactions between inherited
anatomical and physiological mechanisms and the ability to modify behaviour as
a result of experience.
The ultimate causes of behaviour are the selection pressures that shaped it
evolution.
For many animals, much of their behaviour is unlearned and highly
stereotypic (always exactly the same).
Stereotypic behaviour is often species-specific in that most individuals of a
given species perform the behaviour in the same way.
53.2 How Do Genes and Environment Interact to Shape Behaviour?
Genes do not encode behaviours. Rather, gene products such as enzymes can
affect behaviour by setting in motion a series of gene-environment interaction
that underlie the development of proximate mechanisms that enable individuals
to make certain behavioural responses.
Experiments can distinguish between genetic and environmental
influences on behaviour:
www.notesolution.com
2 experimental approaches that are useful to biologist in evaluating how
genes and experience interact to shape behaviours:
1.In a deprivation experiment, investigators rear a young animal so that
it is deprived of all experience relevant to the behaviour under study. If it
still exhibits the behaviour, may assume that the behaviour can develop
without opportunities to learn it.
2.In genetic experiments, investigators alter the genomes of organisms
by interbreeding closely related species, by comparing individuals that
differ in only 1 or a few genes or by knocking out or inserting specific
genes to determine how these manipulations affect their behaviour.
Deprivation experiments: E.g. tree squirrel. Experiment showed that hereditary
underlies the food-storing behaviours of the tree squirrel species, but the behaviour
was expressed only when the environment provided conditions that stimulated the
behaviour (the presence of a nut).
Selective Breeding: Is a means of genetic manipulation that has been in use since
plants and animals were 1st domesticated. It has been used extensively to select for
both anatomical traits and behaviour.
Interbreeding: E.g. interbreeding of duck species by Konrad Lorenz. When Lorenz
crossbred duck species the hybrid offspring expressed some elements of each
parents courtship display, but in new combination. He also observed that the
hybrids sometimes exhibited display elements that were not in the repertoire of
either parent species, but were characteristic of other species. His hybridization
studies clearly demonstrated that the stereotypic motor patterns f the courtship
displays are inherited. The observation that females are not interested in males
performing hybrid displays is evidence that sexual selection has shaped these
genetically determined behaviours.
Gene knockout experiments: E.g. experiments with house mice. Female mice in
which the fos gene is active gather their pups together, keep them warm and
www.notesolution.com
nurse them. Females carrying a mutation that inactivates the fos gene appears
normal, but they differ from other mice in the way they treat their newborn pups.
After giving birth, they inspect their pups but then ignore them. It seems that the
protein encoded by fos is involved in stimulating neural changes in the
hypothalamus of the mothers brain, possibly in response to olfactory (odour)
molecules she encounters upon her initial inspection of the pups. These altered
neural connection apparently play a part in motivating the mother to retrieve and
care for her pups; the neural changes dont occur in the fos gene is inactivated.
Genetic control of behaviour is adaptive under many conditions:
The ability to learn and to modify behaviour as a result of experience can be
highly adaptive.
Without role models and opportunities for learning, individuals might fail to
acquire the appropriate behaviour or acquire inappropriate behaviour if genes
did not exert strong influences on the development of the behaviour.
Releaser an object, event, or condition required to elicit behaviour.
Inherited behaviour is adaptive when mistakes are costly or dangerous and
inheritance of behaviour patterns used to avoid predators capture dangerous
prey is also adaptive.
The response to the releaser may depend on the motivational state of the
animal.
The genes that govern development often allows organisms to adjust their
forms and behaviour to the particular environment in which they develop.
Imprinting takes place at a specific point in development:
Critical period the age during which some particular type of learning
www.notesolution.com

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Description
CHAPTER 53: BEHAVIOUR AND BEHAVIOURAL ECOLOGY 53.1 What Questions Do Biologists Ask About Behaviour? Ethology the study of animal behaviour from an evolutionary perspective. Proximate mechanisms that underlie behaviour are the neuronal, hormonal, and anatomical mechanisms. Most behaviours result from complex interactions between inherited anatomical and physiological mechanisms and the ability to modify behaviour as a result of experience. The ultimate causes of behaviour are the selection pressures that shaped it evolution. For many animals, much of their behaviour is unlearned and highly stereotypic (always exactly the same). Stereotypic behaviour is often species-specific in that most individuals of a given species perform the behaviour in the same way. 53.2 How Do Genes and Environment Interact to Shape Behaviour? Genes do not encode behaviours. Rather, gene products such as enzymes can affect behaviour by setting in motion a series of gene-environment interaction that underlie the development of proximate mechanisms that enable individuals to make certain behavioural responses. Experiments can distinguish between genetic and environmental influences on behaviour: www.notesolution.com 2 experimental approaches that are useful to biologist in evaluating how genes and experience interact to shape behaviours: 1. In a deprivation experiment, investigators rear a young animal so that it is deprived of all experience relevant to the behaviour under study. If it still exhibits the behaviour, may assume that the behaviour can develop without opportunities to learn it. 2. In genetic experiments, investigators alter the genomes of organisms by interbreeding closely related species, by comparing individuals that differ in only 1 or a few genes or by knocking out or inserting specific genes to determine how these manipulations affect their behaviour. Deprivation experiments: E.g. tree squirrel. Experiment showed that hereditary underlies the food-storing behaviours of the tree squirrel species, but the behaviour was expressed only when the environment provided conditions that stimulated the behaviour (the presence of a nut). Selective Breeding: Is a means of genetic manipulation that has been in use since plants and animals were 1 domesticated. It has been used extensively to select for both anatomical traits and behaviour. Interbreeding: E.g. interbreeding of duck species by Konrad Lorenz. When Lorenz crossbred duck species the hybrid offspring expressed some elements of each parents courtship display, but in new combination. He also observed that the hybrids sometimes exhibited display elements that were not in the repertoire of either parent species, but were characteristic of other species. His hybridization studies clearly demonstrated that the stereotypic motor patterns f the courtship displays are inherited. The observation that females are not interested in males performing hybrid displays is evidence that sexual selection has shaped these genetically determined behaviours. Gene knockout experiments: E.g. experiments with house mice. Female mice in which the fos gene is active gather their pups together, keep them warm and www.notesolution.com
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