Ecology- The scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, and the interaction between organisms and their environment.
Biotic factors: Other organisms. (plants, animals)
Abiotic factors: Physical and chemical (sun, rain, fire, soil)
Behavior, Morphology, Physiology
Population-Group of interbreeding individuals
Community-An assemblage of interacting species
Ecosystem-All the organisms in a community and their abiotic environment.
Behavior - how animals respond to their environment
Proximate (mechanistic) : how a behavior occurs in terms of anatomical,neurological & hormonal mechanisms.
Ultimate (evolutionary) : adaptive value; effect on survival or reproductive success.
Fish that switch from female to male (Blue-headed wrasse)
Fish that switch from male to female (Anemonefish)
• Genetically determined Nurture
• Determined by Environment
Innate Behavior: Fixed Action Pattern (no variation in behavior). Most things are not innate.
*Usually behavior results from both genes and environmental factors.
Learning: change in behavior as a result of experience
Geese imprint on the first moving object they see after hatching critical period: a specific period of time for social attachment to ensure geese imprint on the same species.
Animals make associations
Pavlov's dog associates stimulus with food
1. Animal learns to perform an "old" response (salivating) to a new stimulus
2. Repeatedly present reward following stimulus
3. Stimulus alone produces the conditioned response
C. Trial & Error
An animal learns to associate one of its own behaviors with a reward or a punishment.
D. Insight & Reasoning
1. Internal memory stores are used as additional sensory/information source. Needed for trial and error learning. 2. Manipulating concepts in the mind to arrive at adaptive behavior. Using abstract concepts to apply to new things.
Spatial learning and Memory:
Scrub jays store food for times when food abundance is low.
This improves survival and future reproduction. They are using insight and reasoning.
Using abstract concepts to arrive at adaptive behavior?
Cognition: ability to form new associations or insights
Ex. Crows using straight sticks to fish or pry food from crevices. They can also make a hook tool by breaking branches in specific ways. This is adaptive behavior.
Crows can use tools to solve problems. Crows can also make tools from unfamiliar materials to solve problems.
Animals aside from humans are able to use cognition. (Ex. Crows, dolphins, chimps, etc…..)
Social behavior in vertebrates
A.) Predator Avoidance behavior
- schooling/herding (less vulnerable in the center of the group)
B.) Reproductive behavior
-competition (males may fight each other to secure mates)
-courtship displays (birds dance to attract mates)
C.) Parental Behavior (feeding young, protecting offspring)
D.) Communication (types are vocal, visual, tactile, chemical)
Vocal- sing to attract mates or use warning calls
Visual- courtship displays, teeth display, light signals
Tactile-touching, feeling vibrations in the air
Chemical (pheromones)- chemicals released in the air by an individual. Used for mate attraction, alarm signal, territory and trail markers (dog urine). Modifies the behavior of