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Behavioral Ecology. Chapter 32. Animal Behavior. Definition: Actions of an animal in response to stimuli. Nervous and Endocrine systems play important role by secreting hormones or neurotransmitters. . Genes and Behavior . Some variations in behavior have a genetic basis

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animal behavior
Animal Behavior
  • Definition: Actions of an animal in response to stimuli.
  • Nervous and Endocrine systems play important role by secreting hormones or neurotransmitters.
genes and behavior
Genes and Behavior
  • Some variations in behavior have a genetic basis
  • Arnold showed that garter snakes’ taste for slugs has genetic basis
    • Costal garter snake – banana slug
    • Inland garter snake – tadpoles and fish
    • Newborns – only ate species specific food
    • Hybrids –
hormones and behavior
Hormones and Behavior
  • In voles, hormone oxytocin affects pair bonding
  • When hormone is blocked, pair-bonded females dump their partners
  • Brains of monogamous vole species have more oxytocin and ADH receptors
instinctive behavior
Instinctive Behavior
  • Performed without learning experience
  • Usually triggered by simple sign stimuli
  • Response is a stereotyped motor program
    • FIXED
learned behavior
Learned Behavior
  • Responses change with experiences
  • Imprinting
    • Time dependent form of learning
    • Triggered by exposure to a simple sign stimulus
    • Ex: Sound of cars
bird song instinct learning
Bird Song: Instinct + Learning
  • Male birds instinctively recognize a basic song
  • 10 to 50 days after hatching, a bird learns his particular regional variation from others around him
  • Birds in soundproof chambers never pick up the other songs.
adaptive behavior
Adaptive Behavior
  • Defined as: Behavior that helps an individual propagate it’s own genes.
  • Gene frequency will be maintained or will increase in successive generations
selfish altruistic and social behavior
Selfish, Altruistic, and Social Behavior
  • Selfish behavior promotes an individual’s genes at the expense of others
  • Altruistic behavior helps others at the expense of the altruist; may be adaptive under certain circumstances
  • Social behavior – interdependent interactions among individuals
    • Social sacrifice -
communication signals
Communication Signals
  • Intraspecific signals evolve only if they benefit both species involved. (ex poison ivy )
  • Types of signals

Pheromones Tactile signals

Visual signals Acoustical signals

pheromones
Pheromones
  • Chemical signals between members of same species
    • diffuse through air or water
  • Signaling pheromones
    • Induce immediate response
tactile display
Tactile Display
  • Signaler and receiver communicate by contact
  • Honeybee dance language

food close

food distant

visual displays
Visual Displays
  • Important in dominance hierarchies
  • Baring of teeth by baboon communicates threat
  • Play bow in wolves solicits play behavior
acoustical signals
Acoustical Signals
  • Sounds used in communication
  • Lots of examples:

--Dog barking

--Bird chirping

--Elephants

--Whales

signal variation
Signal Variation
  • Some signals never vary
    • Zebra ears flat on head always = HOSTILE
  • Composite signals combine information encoded in more than one cue
    • Zebra with ears flat on head and mouth wide open = VERY HOSTILE
  • Signals vary based on context
    • Lion roar = Threat or trying to contact others
sexual selection
Sexual Selection
  • Choosiness in selecting a mate
  • Success is measured by number of offspring produced
reproductive strategy
Reproductive Strategy

MALES

FEMALES

Produce large, energetically expensive eggs

Often provide parental care

Reproductive success increases by increasing quality of mates – NOT number of mates

  • Produce energetically inexpensive sperm
  • Often provide no parental care
  • Often maximize reproductive success by mating with as many females as possible
choosy females
Choosy Females
  • Female choice can dictate rules of male competition and shape male behavior
  • Selects for males that appeal to females
    • Male sage grouse
    • Male hangingflies offer gifts
    • Male fiddler crabs wave enormous claws
male contests
Male Contests
  • Females of some species cluster in groups
  • Males may fight one another for access to females
  • Selects for: Strength and aggressiveness.
parenting behavior
Parenting Behavior
  • Enhancing survival of offspring increases parents’ reproductive success
  • Parental behavior comes at a cost:
benefits of social living
Benefits of Social Living
  • Improved detection or repulsion of enemies
  • Cooperative hunters probably live together to enjoy other benefits (shared care for their young)
dominance hierarchy
Dominance Hierarchy
  • Some individuals accept subordinate status
  • Higher ranked members have higher reproductive success than subordinates
  • So why stay if you are ranked low?
costs of social living
Costs of Social Living
  • Increased competition for food, mates, and other limiting resources
  • Attractive to preditors
  • Increased vulnerability to disease and parasitism
  • Risk of exploitation by other group members
hormones and bonding in humans
Hormones and Bonding in Humans
  • Autistic children
    • Can’t form normal social relationships
    • Have lower oxytocin levels
  • Oxytocin is released in response to
    • Nursing – “cuddle hormone”
the human touch
The Human Touch
  • Polynesians settled a fertile island about A.D. 350
  • By 1400, population soared, exhausting natural resources
  • By the 1700s, only a few hundred survivors and no resources remained
population demographics
Population Demographics

Population size Number of individuals that make up the gene pool.

  • Age structure Number of individuals in each age category.
  • Reproductive base Individuals that are able to reproduce.
population demographics cont
Population Demographics cont.
  • Population density Number of individuals in a specific area.
  • Population distribution How individuals are dispersed.
density and distribution
Density and Distribution
  • Crude density information is more useful if combined with distribution data

clumped

nearly uniform

random

zero population growth
Zero Population Growth
  • Interval in which number of births is balanced by number of deaths
  • Assume no change as a result of migration
  • Population size remains stable
exponential growth
Exponential Growth
  • Population size grows by increasing increments
  • The larger the population, the more individuals reproduce
  • All populations grow like this if death rate is lower than birth rate
limiting factors
Limiting Factors
  • Any essential resource that is in short supply
  • All limiting factors acting on a population dictate sustainable population size
carrying capacity
Carrying Capacity
  • Definition: The maximum number of individules of a species that an environment can sustain
  • Logistic growth occurs when population size is limited by carrying capacity

initial carrying capacity

new carrying capacity

overshooting capacity
Overshooting Capacity
  • Population may temporarily increase above carrying capacity
  • Overshoot is usually followed by a crash; dramatic increase in deaths

Reindeer on St. Matthew’s Island

survivorship curves
Survivorship Curves
  • Type I populations:
survivorship curves36
Survivorship Curves
  • Type II populations constant death rate
survivorship curves37
Survivorship Curves
  • Type III populations: High death rate for young
human population growth
Human Population Growth
  • Population exceeds 6.6 billion
  • Rates of increase vary among countries
  • Average annual increase is 1.3%
    • By 2050: 8.9 billion
  • Population continues to increase exponentially
skyrocketing growth
Skyrocketing Growth
  • Humans expanded into new habitats and climates
  • Agriculture and fossil fuels increased carrying capacity
  • Hygiene and medicine neutralize density-dependent controls
environmental impacts
Environmental Impacts
  • United States has 4.6% of world’s population
    • Produces 21% of goods
    • Consumes 25% of nonrenewable resources
    • Generates 25% of world pollution and trash
  • India has 15% of world’s population
    • Produces 1% of goods
    • Uses 3% of nonrenewable resources
    • Generates 3% of trash and waste
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