stephen Ethogram Lab - Ethogram of the Gray Squirrel on...

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Ethogram of the Gray Squirrel on Coker College Campus and Surrounding Areas Stephen Gosnell Biology 201 11:00 Class Session November 23, 2001
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INTRODUCTION Behavioral science is a broad field of study involving the understanding and prediction of behavior. In human studies, this information may be used to learn how to control observed behaviors. In animals, however, the study is usually related to observing an animal’s behavior and attempting to interpret the meaning. The roots of behavioral science may be found in the studies of Charles Darwin. Darwin observed animal behaviors on his voyage throughout South America and the Galapagos. Mendel also contributed to the idea of observing species by his study of plants while he formed his hypothesis of genetics. However, the first major steps in behavioral science may be found in the work of German scientists such as Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and Karl von Frisch . Focusing on the innate behaviors of animals, the field of ethology was formed through their work. Ethology is the study of organisms in their natural habitats. One major part of ethology is the formation of ethograms. An ethogram is a catalog of behavior of a species organized into categories such as locomotion, feeding, or foraging. The catalog may be considered an ethogram when the catalog appears to encompass the organism’s repertoire, or complete set of behaviors the animal is capable of performing. Behaviors should include an empirical description, in which the physical motion of the organism is recorded, and a functional description, in which an attempt is made to explain the purpose of the behavior. An ideal ethogram is one that is unaffected by the observer. This situation is never completely possible. Major applications of ethograms include their use in documenting behaviors of animals of which little is understood. For example, scientists are currently using ethograms to study the behaviors of 2
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primates and dolphins, both of which are considered intelligent animals of which we understand little. In this lab, an ethogram was constructed of the behaviors of the eastern gray squirrel, or Sciurus carolinensis . Gray squirrels are medium-sized members of the rodent family specially adapted for arboreal life. With a range north to south from Canada to Florida, and to the west as far as the grasslands of the central United States, the gray squirrel is a well-adapted indigenous species. The subspecies S. carolinensis carolinensis was most likely observed due to the range of the studies. The behaviors of the gray squirrel were divided into movement, feeding, foraging, aggression, maintenance, reproduction, and miscellaneous, and the squirrel population was observed over a period of time to gather information. METHODS AND MATERIALS
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This note was uploaded on 10/12/2011 for the course BIOLOGY 100 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '11 term at South Carolina Upstate.

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stephen Ethogram Lab - Ethogram of the Gray Squirrel on...

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