Ethogram Lab - Ethogram Lab Sciurus carolinensis...

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Ethogram Lab Sciurus carolinensis carolinensis Erik J. Askea Biology 201 11:00 Dr. Bill Alexander
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Introduction Ethology can be defined as “the study of animal behavior based on the systematic observation, recording, and analysis of how animals function, with special attention to physiological, ecological, and evolutionary aspects” (The Columbia Encyclopedia, p12935). Ethology involves both laboratory and field experiments and focuses on an organism’s actions. This study also considers whether behaviors are learned or instinctive. In this lab, it was attempted to observe a species in such a way as to discover their actions and the way in which these actions, or behaviors, were conducted. The species chosen by my group, consisting of Cody Whetsel, Jialiu Liu, Dan Ebner, Patrick Nugent, and myself, was the southern grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis carolinensis. Relatively prevalent in the Hartville area, these squirrels were common around the wooded areas, especially near the campus of Coker College. By minimizing our effect on the squirrel by attempting to observe at a distance, we hoped to be able to observe and record the actions of the squirrel in the natural habitat. The behaviors that we intended to observe included any actions that allowed the squirrel to survive, including feeding, locomotion, social interaction, etc. However, we were no looking for all behaviors in that we didn’t want to directly influence the squirrels ourselves. Though some people may consider it impossible to observe any creature without affecting it in some way or another, it was attempted by my group. Methods and Materials In attempting to find the common behaviors of the Southern Grey Squirrel, squirrels were observed during the late fall to very early winter. These individuals tended
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to be observed around the campus of Coker College in Hartsville, SC. A few observations were also taken individually across the state from areas ranging from Darlington County to Greenville. During the observation process, squirrels were observed and their actions taken note of. Not only were their actions observed and categorized into labels such as locomotion or foraging, but they were grouped into sub- categories as well. As these actions took place, the observer would record anything that he/she may have noticed about the squirrels’ behavior during this observation time. Often, the lab group as a whole or pairs of lab partners would conduct the observations; one or more members observing the specimen and its actions, the other(s) would record in a notebook the actions taking place. A pair of Mirador Binoculars were also often utilized in that, in order to have as small an impact as possible, the observation group would usually stay as far from the specimen as possible without losing visual contact and some form of detail in the individual’s actions Results Though all actions conducted by the entire species could not be conceivably observed with certainty, many actions were observed and patterns soon became apparent. A
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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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Ethogram Lab - Ethogram Lab Sciurus carolinensis...

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