Behavioral Ecology Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Development of irreversible species-specific behavior patterns.
(ex: young birds on mothers, shrews imprint on scent of mother)
moves less than usual
Classical learning
involuntary response becomes associated positively or negatively with a stimulus that did not originally elicit the response
defense of keeping others out
probability if H0 is true
stabilizing selection
selection against phenotypes that deviate in either direction from the optimal value for a character by selecting from the ends
One male mating with one female
Associated learning
Association develops between stimulus and response
sexual selection
the advantage which certain individuals have over others of the same sex solely with respect to sexual reproduction (Darwin)
modification of behavior based on specific experiences
Two Schools of Thought:
Darwinians - evolution from a common ancestor can lead to all sorts of diverse life with natural selection
Neo-Lamarckians - natural selection needs help with the inheritance of acquired traits
learned behaviors
requires "conditioning" ; behavior changes as result to specific life experiences, innate behavior by novel stimulus
Kin selection
A phenomenon of inclusive fitness, used to explain altruistic behavior between related individuals.
oscillating selection
when the selection reverses direction regularly
dominance heirarchy
one solution for males of non-territorial species finding other ways to compete for mates. linear sequence of dominant and sub-dominant males.
aesthetic preference
females choose based solely on looks
Visual communication
Type of communication that predators use flashes to lure males in to eat them; Male fireflies flash species specific number and duration of flashes; Competition among males for most impressive displays leads to elaborate coloration and extensive ornamentation
proximate questions
these focus on the environmental stimuli that trigger a behavior along with genetic, physiological and anatomical mechanisms underlying a behavioral act, "how"
if elevated, leads to more territorial defense. but over time leads to injury, exhaustion, and decreased immune function if in high levels.
Proximate Cause
The immediate mechanisms underlying a behavior
reflex movement toward or away a stimulus
Inclusive fitness
This term represents the overall ability of individuals to pass their genes on to the next generation
1966 MacArthur, Pianka, Emlen
Foraging, Fighting, Fleeing, Fornicating
Natural Selection
Also direct selection. The process that occurs when individuals differ in their traits and the differences are correlated with differences in reproductive success. Natural selection can produce evolutionary change when these differences are inherited (Alcock).
Evolutionary Trap
An event that decreases reproduction and gives a false cue. Usually caused by humans.
A change in activity or turning rate in response to a stimulus.
behavioral ecology
examines the ways in which behavior among animals is adaptive, how it varies, how it evolves
Good genes model
Explanation for how females choose mates- when a male is hot and dangerous and has good genes. does not take into account surviving predators
Fire climaxes
Where the dominant species are those adapted to fire.
Direct Fitness
Genes contributed by an individual to its propulation via its personal reproduction (its surviving offspring)
The study of behavior and learning in the laboratory
one of three mating systems, one male mates with one female
Fischer's Assumption
Sex ration can be adjusted; perfect knowledge of population sex ratio; population wide competition for mates; perfect ignorance about success of kids; no other effects
Charles Darwin - On the Origin of species along with Alfred Russell Wallace making the idea of natural selection
Intersexual Selection
A form of sexual selection where individuals of the limiting sex (usually females) selects particular mates of the opposite sex (usually males); this special case is called female-choice.
snake thamnophis elegans
coastal vs. inland's diet of slugs...coastal wanted it, inland not really -- genetically proved
directional selection
selection for a higher or lower value of character
life-raft theory
you're better off on the life raft, but one past optimal and it sinks and everyone dies. the fitness curve keeps going off and drops off dramatically. optimal size could be stable in this case.
By-product Mutualism
A type of cooperation in which an individual pays an immediate cost or penalty for not acting cooperatively, such that the immediate net benefit of cooperating outweighs that of cheating.
Agonistic Behavior
A type of behavior involving a contest of some kind that determines which competitor gains access to some resource, such as food or mates.
magnetic sense
animals can use the magnetic fields to navigate; used along with sun compass and time clock; back up for cloudy days
aesthetic preference model (Darwin)
maybe females are simply making an aesthetic choice - they like the way you look...
sound, sight, smell, presence of another animal
examples of external stimulus include...
Alternative Mating Strategy
Any variant of one sex that differs in morphology and/or behavior that has some reproductive success against the predominant mating strategy.
love everywhere
use of familiar landmarks
male-male competition
males compete for females
Predator Defense Advantages
Improved detection
Dilution effect
Selfish herd
Confusion effect
trophic relationship
in ecosystems, feeding relationships such as grazing food webs or detrital food webs
A system of information transfer through social learning or teaching that influences the behavior of individuals in a population
hamiltons rule
fitness benefits of altruistic behavior are high for the recipient; the altruistic and recipient are close relatives; the fitness costs to the altruist are low;
game theory
evaluate alternative strategies in situations where the outcome depends on each individual's strategies and the strategies of other individual
purpose: training for life defense, hunting
William D. Hamilton
(1936-2000): British evolutionary biologist, considered one of the greatest evolutionary theorists of the 20th century. Hamilton became famous for his theoretical work expounding a rigorous genetic basis for the existence of kin selection. This insight was a key part of the development of a gene-centric view of evolution, and he can therefore be seen as one of the forerunners of the discipline of sociobiology. He also published important work on sex ratios and the evolution of sex.
Exchange of information that is beneficial to the sender but harmful to the receiver.
practice bower
the nest that juvenile bowerbirds build
allopatric speciation
populations are isolated from one another and undergo speciation
the number of organisms multiplied by their weight
A loss of responsiveness to stimuli that convey little or no information
Mate-guarding hypothesis
Hypothesis that states: males stay with a female to protect her from being fertilized by other males
the study of how animals behave especially in their natural environments
A sing female mates with several males.
cyclic movement based on time of year
bark, growl, snort, howl, hoot, chirp, whinny, alarm sound, other language
W.D. Hamilton - Kin Selection, the selfish herd (Schooling fish and musk ox defending)
John B. Watson
(1878-1958): American psychologist who established the psychological school of behaviorism, after doing research on animal behavior. He believed that all behaviors of an organism are products of its past experiences and the mind is initially a blank slate (tabula rasa).
food web
in ecosystems, a complex pattern of interlocking and crisscrossing food chains
Everything an animal does and how it does it.
Resource based polygyny
Type of polygyny that patchy distribution of resource and female visits for resource
Agnostic Behaviors
A type of behavior involving a non-lethal contest of some kind that determines which competitor gains access to some resource, such as food or mates
dominance hierarchies
ranking of power among group, less energy spent on conflicts
genes are the alleles and the bodies are simply the thing that carry them
classical conditioning
individuals are trained to give the same response to more that one stimuli - stimuli has nothing to do with the normal response
organism in a food chain that feeds on both plants and animals
Communal courting
Type of polygyny that males display in lek, females mate after males display
territorial contest winner
resident almost always wins in an interaction with an intruder
Learned Behavior
A behavior that results when an animal responds in a different way to the same informaton over time.
Mate Guarding Monogamy
Actions taken by males (usually) to prevent a sexual partner from acquiring sperm from other males.
1950-1960 Nikko Tinnberger
4 Questions: First 2 are proximate last 2 ultimate
Immediate Causation- Get Hungry
Development-Inherit and know what want to eat
Evolutionary History-Ancestors ate it and chose it
Adaptive Value-maximize your energy over time
Ideal Free Distribution (IFD)
The distribution of individuals in space that are free to choose where to go in ways that could maximize their fitness.
Insight Learning
The process of learning how to solve a problem or do something new by applying what is already known
Morgan's Canon
"In no case may we interpret an action as the outcome of the exercise of a higher mental faculty, if it can be interpreted as the exercise of one which stands lower in the psychological scale" (Morgan).
X2 Chi Square Test - Fishers Exact Test
Independent Variable is categorical
Dependent Variable is categorical
FAP- fixed action pattern
-"Sex Play", courtship Arenas
-Many types of birds compete against each other in these arenas
Benefits of sociality
cooperative hunting/foraging
cooperative defense (pereguin penguins on falcons)
avoiding sexual harassment
forced pair copulation: vernacular rape
A polygamous mating system involving one male and many females.
Australian birds that build bowers, little structures used to attract a mate
no strong lasting pair-bonds or relationships
signaling between one animal and another; greeting (ex. sniff, hug, kiss, "bite", aggression, charge, fight)
Ultimate Causation
The evolutionary, historical reason why something is the way it is; or why a behavior occurs (Alcock).
The ability of an animal's nervous system to perceive, store, process, and use information obtained by its sensory receptors.
Social learning
Modification of behavior through the observation of other individuals
Female-enforced monogamy hypothesis
Hypothesis that states: female interferes with male attracting other females
Social Selection
selection on individuals to reproduce within a group where there is competition to mate or to produce offspring
Female Defense Polygyny
Polygynous males directly defend several females.
Sign stimulus
An external sensory stimulus that triggers a fixed-action pattern
A nerve cell that relays messages either from receptor neurons to the central nervous system (a sensory interneuron) or from the central nervous system to neurons commanding muscle cells (a motor interneuron).
chemical communication
-over a short distance (except moths)
-VERY species specific
-can stay long in environment
-not flexible - limited array of simple messages
Operant conditioning
A type of associative learning in which an animal learns to associate one of its own behaviors with a reward or punishment and then tends to repeat or avoid that behavior; also called trial-and-error learning.
Associative learning
The acquired ability to associate one stimulus with another; also called classical conditioning.
A behavior that causes a change in another animal's behavior
Optimality theory
This theory predicts an animal should behave in a way that maximizes benefits of a behavior minus its costs
post-mating reproductive isolating mechanisms
gamete mortality, zygote mortality, hybrid inviability, hybrid sterility
2 types of Niches
specialist (kite birds and apple snails)
Sensory Exploitation
A theory of sexual selection that posits that females may initially prefer male traits that elicit the greatest amount of stimulation from their sensory systems.
Innate Releasing Mechanism (IRM)
"A special (hypothetical) neurosensory mechanism that releases the reaction and is responsible for its selective susceptibility to a very special combination of sign stimuli" (Tinbergen).
Time minimizer
An individual that maximizes the rate of energy gained per unit time by choosing prey (or patches) with the lowest time required (Ts + Th).
Fixed-action pattern
A sequence of unlearned acts that is essentially unchangeable and, once initiated, usually carried out to completion.
sensitive period
limited phase in an animals behavior - only time behavior can be learned
Dominance hiearchies
A dominance hierarchy among a group of individuals is a ranking of power among the members.
Tabla Rasa
Literally, a "blank slate" or state of the mind of an organism at birth under the theory of behaviorism.
Optimal foraging theory
The basis for analyzing behavior as a compromise of feeding costs versus feeding benefits.
optimal territory size
ideal balance of the amount of time spent defending territory vs. amount of resources in territory
Resource Holding Power (RHP)
The inherent capacity of an individual to defeat others when competing for useful resources.
Unrelated individuals in altruistic behavior
Because we are selfish and believe in karma.
D.S. Wilson
Group Selection
Instrumental Conditioning
AKA Operant conditioning
feeding behavior of an organism
Non-Parametric Test
The Data is Non-Normal
within a locality sympatric species are distinct entities which do not interbreed and across space populations of a species may differentiate while maintaining connectedness
Workers (females) help queen raise offspring
method of avoiding predators. chemical deterrence, false eyespots on fish, startling predator, attracting competing predators
Animals that communicate by chemical substance emitted by odors.
Reproductive success disadvantages
Competition for mates
Egg/ offspring cannibalism
Nest parasitism
a species whose individuals reproduce repeatedly (top line)
Chemical messengers that travel via extracellular fluids to specific receptors on adjacent cell membranes.
A point of reference for orientation during navigation.
suborder of bats. smaller, feed on insects, most of which are captured in flight.
runaway selection (Fisher)
trait becomes reinforced generation after generation until it is greatly exaggerated, can be a dangerous burden
Group selection
Group containing altruists would have a survival advantage over group composed of selfish individuals
pecking order
linear sequence of dominant and sub-dominant males (alpha male, beta male...)
reproductive strategies
set of decisions/behaviors relating to reproduction that presumably evolved to maximize reproductive fitness. number of offspring, type of mate, number of mates, parental care, etc.
learning preparedness
animals learn associations easier if there is a natural propensity to do so.
spatial learning
modification of behavior based on experience with structure of the environment, including the locations of nests, hazards, food, & mates
Tactile Communication
The communication through touch such as worker bees.
an allele that is not particularly genetically based -> red tailed hawk example
Proximate Causation
An immediate, underlying cause based on the operation of internal mechanisms possessed by the individual; or how a behavior occurs (Alcock).
Movement of an individual from his/her initial location to a new location.
suborder of bats that feed on insects captured in flight
species selection
origination or extinction of groups of related species (clades). macroevolutionary trends.
Indirect fitness
fitness due to presence of relatives and their offspring in the population; you share genes with your relatives
Hybridization Experiment
An experiment in which parents with two different variations of a behavior are crossed to see if the offspring's behavior isintermediate between the two.
food, predators
Two factors that influence group size are ____, and _________.
Hamilton's Rule
The argument made by W.D. Hamilton that altruism can spread through a population with r*B > C with r being the coefficient of relatedness between the altruist and the individual helped, B being the fitness benefit received by the helped individual, and C being the cost of the altruist in terms of the direct fitness lost by the altruism due to his / her actions.
Higher vocal center is the song memory center. Individuals with more songs have larger HVCs. HVC has neurons specifically tuned to the male's own song and those of familiar rivals.
frequency-dependent selection
when the selective value of an allele is affected by its frequency within the population.
home range
the area that an animal uses for regular day to day activities. contains everything the animal needs for survival, growth, and reproduction.
evolutionary stable strategies
strategy must not be vulnerable to cheating. not necessarily the most beneficial strategy
Kin Recognition
The capacity of an individual to react differently to others based on the degree to which they are genetically related.
hunger, fatigue, feeling cold, hormones
examples of internal stimulus include...
ideal free distribution
model for how animals will settle into patches that account for differences in patch quality and competition from others
Benefits of Living in a Group
avoiding predation; dilution effect; confusion effect; coordinated defense; feeding: coordinated hunting and shared information
Fixed Action Pattern (FAP)
A sequence of behavioral acts that is carried to completion once initiated.
optimal foraging in regard to prey choice
never eat anything larger than your head, and eat items that lead to the highest energy profitability.
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