Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 3 sessions / week; 1 hour / session
Topics for special emphasis include:
- Key concepts in learning.
- Habitat selection. Nest site selection; territoriality; dispersal; migration.
- Feeding. Foraging or stalking; prey capture; storage / hoarding; consummation.
- Antipredator behavior. Detection; tricking the predator; defenses-individual, social; other adaptations.
- Sexuality. Dimorphisms in body and behavior; social organization, dominance structures; evolution of sexual signals, emancipation from original uses.
- Mating and reproduction. Pair bonding varieties and advantages; brood tending and its evolution; similarities of emancipated actions across widely different species.
- Cooperation among conspecifics.
- Tool use.
The class sessions will include:
- Lecture / discussion of key concepts in readings, using the study questions for guidance.
- Some sessions will include viewing of selected videos.
- Student discussion and presentations.
- Do all assigned readings. Attempt to answer study questions before class; these will be discussed in class, along with additional material.
- Weekly short quizzes or homework assignments.
- Midterm and final exams.
Grading of Course
|Quizzes & Homeworks||35|
|CRITERIAS||DESCRIPTIONS||% OF ASSIGNMENT GRADES|
|Relevance to class||Cite specific ideas or principles of ethology and sociobiology||20|
|Sources||Search effort, reading effort, adequacy for the report and accuracy of understanding||20|
|Organization & clarity of descriptions||Organization of ideas with helpful use of headings; clarity of descriptions||20|
|Examples & Interest||Examples used to explain the topic clearly and effectively; interest shown by student and generated in audience||20|
|Critique of existing studies and future directions||Critique of studies read and future directions (your ideas about relevant work you think should be done if you were working in this field).||20|
|LEC #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|1||Introduction: class requirements, various approaches to animal behavior and its study||Initial assignments for student reports|
|2||Introduction to ethology; three-spined stickleback fish|
|3||Introduction to ethology (cont.); field studies of birds; Niko Tinbergen’s questions||
Homework 1 due
|4||Ethology (cont.); Konrad Lorenz’ Jackdaws|
|5||Ethology of geese; fixed action patterns and the CNS|
|6||Fixed action patterns and the CNS (cont.)|
|7||Input and output sides of innate behavior; motivation|
|8||Innate behavior and motivation (cont.); Lorenz on fundamentals of ethology: The “fixed action pattern”|
|9-11||Lorenz on fundamentals of ethology (cont.)||Homework 2 due in Lecture 9|
|12-13||Evolution; development & plasticity of behavior|
|14-15||Communication; Meerkats of the Kalahari Desert||Homework 3 due in Lecture 14|
|16||Foraging; anti-predation behavior||Homework 4 due|
|17||Anti-predation behavior (cont.)|
|18||Mating & Reproduction|
|19||Introduction to Sociobiology|
|20||Sociobiology subject matter|
|21||Genetic influences on social behavior|
|22||Videos: Domestic cat|
|23||Domestic cat; scientific method in sociobiology|
|24||Discoveries of sociobiology||Homework 5 due|
|25||Discoveries of sociobiology (cont.)|
|26||Critique of cultural determinism|
|27||Sociobiology and culture; Practical issues and sociobiology||Homework 6 due|
|28||“The triumph of sociobiology”; Konrad Lorenz on learning|
|29||Konrad Lorenz on learning (cont.)||Homework 7 due|
|30||Konrad Lorenz on learning (cont.); Video: The Great Apes|
|31||Video: The Great Apes (cont.)|
Written reports due
Extra credit homework due
|32-35||Student report presentations|