Animal Behavior and Zoology


Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Taught by

evolution, biology, anthropology


successful completion of Genes and Evolution in Fall 2013; strong academic background (including evolutionary theory, statistics, and writing), field biology skills, and readiness for international travel. 

What do animals do, how do they do it and why? In this two-quarter-long investigation of animal behavior, a continuation of Genes and Evolution in fall quarter, students will answer these questions through extensive use of the scientific literature, in-depth discussions of the evolutionary and ecological theories fundamental to the study of behavior, independent research projects and several weeks in the field, including a multi-week trip to tropical ecosystems in Ecuador.

Animals hibernate, forage, mate, form social groups, compete, communicate, care for their young and so much more. They do so with the tools of their physiology, anatomy, and, in some cases, culture, for reasons having to do with their particular ecology and evolutionary history. In this program, we will begin with a review of animal diversity, and continue our studies of behavior from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. Students will be expected to engage some of the complex and often contradictory scientific predictions and results that have been generated in this field through lectures, workshops and take-home exams, as well as undertake their own, intensive field research.

Some topics covered in this program will include mating systems, territoriality, female mate choice, competition, communication, parental care, game theory, plant/animal interactions and convergent evolution. Several readings will focus on one group of animals in particular: the primates, including  Homo sapiens.

Continuing the focus on theory and statistics begun in Genes and Evolution, we will travel to Ecuador to study the differences and similarities between the neotropics and the Pacific Northwest, focusing on the animals and their behavior. Particular attention will be paid to the herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) that live in lowland rainforests. In spring quarter, having studied the methods, statistics and literature frequently used in behavioral research, students will generate their own hypotheses and go into the field to test them through extensive, independent field research. This work might be in Ecuador or the Pacific Northwest. Students will return to campus for the last two weeks of spring quarter to complete their data analysis and present their research.


Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

field biology, evolution, ecology and other life sciences.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

Students will need approximately $4,500 plus airfare for all-program 5 week study abroad in Ecuador in winter and spring. Students may choose to remain in Ecuador for 6 additional weeks to conduct research; additional costs will apply.

Special Expenses

International airfare to and from Ecuador, living expenses for six weeks in Ecuador in spring beyond the all-program study abroad trip and any additional expenses associated with independent research.

Research Possibilities

In Spring quarter, students will engage in extended, independent field biology projects either in Ecuador or the Pacific Northwest.

Study Abroad

Ecuador, 5 weeks, Winter-Spring, approximately $4500. Students may remain in Ecuador for 6 additional weeks to conduct research; additional costs will apply.

Upper Division Science Credit

Up to 28 upper division science credit will be awarded for successful completion of all program activities.

May be offered again in



Date Revision
March 7th, 2013 Fees for the study abroad have increased to $4,500.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 20


Signature Required

Successful completion of Genes and Evolution (Fall 2013) required for consideration. Application also required and available on program website. Decisions will be based on merit (see prerequisites), and will be made before Winter registration begins.

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 20077

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Enrollment Closed

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 30061

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