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Concept 51.1: Behavioral ecologists distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of behavior PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Behavioral ecology extends observations of animal behavior by studying how such behavior is controlled and how it develops, evolves, and contributes to survival and reproductive success. Concept 51.1: Behavioral ecologists distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of behavior.

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Concept 51.1: Behavioral ecologists distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of behavior

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Concept 51 1 behavioral ecologists distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of behavior

  • Behavioral ecology extends observations of animal behavior by studying how such behavior is controlled and how it develops, evolves, and contributes to survival and reproductive success


Concept 51 1 behavioral ecologists distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of behavior

Concept 51.1: Behavioral ecologists distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of behavior

  • Scientific questions about behavior can be divided into two classes:

    • Those that focus on the immediate stimulus and mechanism for the behavior

    • Those that explore how the behavior contributes to survival and reproduction


What is behavior

What Is Behavior?

  • Behavior is what an animal does and how it does it

  • Behavior includes muscular and nonmuscularactivity

  • Learning is also considered a behavioral process


Proximate and ultimate questions

Proximate and Ultimate Questions

  • Proximate, or “how,” questions focus on:

    • Environmental stimuli that trigger a behavior

    • Genetic, physiological, and anatomical mechanisms underlying a behavior

  • Ultimate, or “why,” questions focus on evolutionary significance of a behavior


Fixed action patterns

Fixed Action Patterns

  • A fixed action pattern (FAP) is a sequence of unlearned, innate behaviors that is unchangeable

  • Once initiated, it is usually carried to completion

  • A FAP is triggered by an external sensory stimulus known as a sign stimulus


Imprinting

Imprinting

  • Imprinting is a behavior that includes learning and innate components and is generally irreversible

  • It is distinguished from other learning by a sensitive period

  • A sensitive period is a limited developmental phase that is the only time when certain behaviors can be learned


Le 51 5

LE 51-5

BEHAVIOR: Young geese follow and imprint on their mother.

PROXIMATE CAUSE: During an early, critical developmental stage, the young geese observe their mother moving away from them and calling.

ULTIMATE CAUSE: On average, geese that follow and imprint on their mother receive more care and learn necessary skills, and thus have a greater chance of surviving than those that do not follow their mother.


Concept 51 1 behavioral ecologists distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of behavior

  • Conservation biologists have taken advantage of imprinting in programs to save the whooping crane from extinction


Kinesis

Kinesis

  • A kinesis is a simple change in activity or turning rate in response to a stimulus

  • For example, sow bugs become more active in dry areas and less active in humid areas


Le 51 7a

LE 51-7a

Moist site

under leaf

Dry open

area

Kinesis increases the chance that a sow bug will encounter and stay

in a moist environment.


Taxis

Taxis

  • A taxis is a more or less automatic, oriented movement toward or away from a stimulus

  • Many stream fish exhibit positive rheotaxis; they automatically swim in an upstream direction

  • This taxis prevents them from being swept away and keeps them facing the direction from which food will come


Le 51 7b

LE 51-7b

Direction

of river

current

Positive rheotaxis keeps trout facing into the current, the direction

from which most food comes.


Migration

Migration

  • Many features of migratory behavior in birds have been found to be genetically programmed


Animal signals and communication

Animal Signals and Communication

  • In behavioral ecology, a signal is a behavior that causes a change in another animal’s behavior

  • Communication is the reception of and response to signals

  • Animals communicate using visual, auditory, chemical, tactile, and electrical signals


Learning

Learning

  • Learning is modification of behavior based on specific experiences

  • Habituation is a simple form of learning that involves loss of responsiveness to stimuli that convey little or no information

  • Cognition is the ability of an animal’s nervous system to perceive, store, process, and use information gathered by sensory receptors


Natural selection favors behaviors that increase survival and reproductive success

Natural selection favors behaviors that increase survival and reproductive success

  • Genetic components of behavior evolve through natural selection

  • Behavior can affect fitness


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