L16Behavior - Fact: Redwing Blackbirds Jan 1, 2011 3000 in...

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Fact: Redwing Blackbirds • Jan 1, 2011 – 3000 in AK • Jan 3, 2011 – 500 in LA • Likely caused by disorientation due to fireworks
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“While large-scale bird die-offs are always a concern, they are not that unusual. Over the past 10 years there have been over 175 wild bird mortality events reported to the NWHC exceeding 1,000 birds. Infectious disease, weather, poisoning, trauma, starvation are just some of the causes for these large scale mortality events. “
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Fact: Redwinged Blackbirds • One of the most abundant birds in the North America • Glossy black males with red and yellow shoulders – Females are brown • Harbingers of springtime – early arrivals! http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-winged_Blackbird/sounds
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Behavioral Ecology Ch 53
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The study of behavior began with conditioning • 1880: Ivan Pavlov, a physiologist interested in digestive juice secretion • Observed that a dog salivated when the research tech who regularly fed the dog entered the room • Set up an experiment – When the dog was fed, a metronome ticked – Eventually the dog would salivate when it heard a metronome.
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• Salivation in response to food = natural • Salivation in response to stimulus = learned – Pairing of sound with the experience conditioned the dog’s nervous system
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Early behavioral studies • Were performed in the laboratory, where variables and conditions could be manipulated and controlled • Focused on “model organisms”, such as the albino rat • Asked questions regarding learning and memory (and not mating, feeding, or communicating)
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Ethology • Brought behavioral ecology to the field, asking how species behave in nature • Mostly examined genetically determined behaviors (fixed action patterns) – Performed without learning – Are performed the same way each time – Can not be modified by learning
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FAPs respond to stimuli called releasers • Gull chicks instinctively peck at the red dot, inducing parent to regurgitate food outdoors.webshots.com
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Questions in Behavioral Ecology Proximate causes (immediate mechanisms that determine actions at a given time/current circumstance) Causation : what is the stimulus and how has the relationship between stimulus and behavior been modified by learning? Development : How does the behavior change with age and what experiences are necessary? Ultimate causes (evolutionary processes) Function : How does the behavior influence reproduction and survival? Evolution : How does behavior compare with other related species and how might it have evolved?
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Strange behaviors • An interesting way to avoid predators • A way to get away while staying camouflaged http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/03/24_octopus.shtml
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Genetics of Behavior • Behaviors are complex traits that depend on many genes • Behaviors are controlled by gene cascades • Can perform crossing experiments to see if behaviors are passed down to offspring • Can perform “knockout experiments” eliminating or silencing a gene and seeing if the behavior continues
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This note was uploaded on 12/22/2011 for the course BIOLOGY 200 taught by Professor L during the Fall '11 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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L16Behavior - Fact: Redwing Blackbirds Jan 1, 2011 3000 in...

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