Animal Behavior and Zoology
Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters
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.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day
Upper Division Science Credit
May be offered again in
|March 7th, 2013||Fees for the study abroad have increased to $4,500.|