Animal Behavior & Ecology (Animal Behavior (Types of Behavior (Innate,…
Animal Behavior & Ecology
Types of Behavior
An instinct is the ability of an animal to perform a behavior the first time it is exposed to the proper stimulus.
. The only innate behaviors in humans are reflexes. For example, a human infant will grasp an object, such as a finger, that is placed in its palm.
Fixed Action Pattern
This is an innate behavior that is triggered by some sort of sign stimulus and - once initiated - will run to completion
examples is the behavior of the nesting Graylag Goose. If an egg is displaced from the nest, the bird will reflexively roll the egg back to the nest with its beak. However, Konrad Lorenz discovered that it will complete this action even if the egg is removed during the behavior. The goose will simply continue with the behavior as if the egg was still there.
The establishment of long lasting behavioral response to particular individual or object
Imprinting is the tendency of young animals to follow the first moving object they see. This is usually the mother. Imprinting usually occurs during a short, but critical, period of a young animal’s life.
The ability to associate one environmental feature (such as color) w/ another (such as a foultaste)
Ivan Pavlov's use of dogs to demonstrate that a stimulus, such as the ringing of a bell, leads to a reward, or food.
Two types of associative learning exist: classical conditioning, such as in Pavlov's dog; and operant conditioning, or the use of reinforcement through rewards and punishments.
Trial & Error (Operant Conditioning)
This type of learned behaviour occurs by rewarding or punishing an animal.
Teaching a dog to jump through a hoop by giving it treats is operant conditioning
Habituation is where an animal becomes steadily used to a stimulus or situation. It is sometimes known as a simple learning or desensitisation process.
An example of habituation would be the action of prairie dogs which have lived alongside humans for some time. They have become familiar with the scents of humans in their territory and no longer make alarm calls when a scent is found.
Observational learning is learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others. It is a form of social learning which takes various forms, based on various processes.
An infant learns to make and understand facial expressions.
Insight learning is a type of learning or problem solving that happens all-of-a-sudden through understanding the relationships of various parts of a problem rather than through trial and error.
Occurs in human learning when people recognize relationships (or make novel associations between objects or actions) that can help them solve new problems.
Food obtaining behavior that includes not only eating but also any activities an animal uses to search for, recognize, & capture food items
Some examples of tool use include dolphins using sponges to feed on fish that bury themselves in the sediment
Genetic Basis of Behavior
During courtship, the male fruit fly carries out a complex series of actions in response to multiple sensory stimuli
A single gene called
controls this entire courtship ritual
gene is mutated to an inactive form, males don't court or mate w/ females
is short for
, reflecting the absence of offspring from the mutant males. Normal male & female express distinct forms of the
Behavioral differences b/w closely related species such as meadow and prairie voles are common
Significant differences in behavior can also be found within a species but are often less obvious
When behavioral variation b/w populations of a species correlates w/ variation in environmental conditions, it may reflect natural selection
Describes a behavior that reduces an animal's individual fitness but increases the fitness of other individuals in the population
For example, the Belding's ground squirrel which lives in western United States and is vulnerable to predators such as coyotes & hawks
A squirrel that sees a predator approach often gives a high-pitched alarm call that alerts unaware individuals to retreat to their burrows
Factors that produce different environments
Tilt of the Earth
The exact tilt of the earth is 23.5 degrees
The earth is tilted on its axis relative to its plane of orbit around the sun, the intensity of solar radiation varies seasonally
During the June Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere tilts away towards the sun & has the longest day & shortest night
During the March & September equinox, the equator faces the sun directly, neither pole tilts towards the sun. All regions of earth experience 12 hrs of daylight & 12 hrs of darkness
The equinox occurs in March 21st & September 21st
During the December Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun & has the longest night & shortest day
The solstices occur in June 21st & December 21st
An effect whereby a mass moving in a rotating system experiences a force (the Coriolis force ) acting perpendicular to the direction of motion and to the axis of rotation.
On the earth, the effect tends to deflect moving objects to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern and is important in the formation of cyclonic weather systems.
An area having relatively little precipitation due to the effect of a topographic barrier, especially a mountain range, that causes the prevailing winds to lose their moisture on the windward side, causing the leeward side to be dry.
Most terrestrial biomes are named for major physical or climatic features & for their predominant vegetation
Temperate grasslands for instance are generally found in middle latitudes where the climate is more moderate than in the tropics or polar regions & are dominated by various grass species
Different Types of Terrestrial Biomes
Tropical forest occurs in equatorial & subequatorial regions
In tropical rain forest, rainfall is relatively constant about 200-400 cm annually
In tropical dry forests, precipitation is highly seasonal about 150-200 cm annually w/ a 6 to 7 month dry season
Temperature is high year round averaging 25-29 degrees Celsius w/ little seasonal variation
Home to millions of species including estimated 5-30 million species of insects, spiders, & other arthopods
Deserts occur in bands near 30 degrees N & S latitude or at other latitudes in the interior of continents (for instance, the Gobi Desert of north-central Asia
Precipitation is low & highly variable, generally has less than 30 cm a year
Temperature is variable seasonally & daily. Maximum air temperature in hot deserts may exceed 50 degrees Celsius; in cold desert air temperature may fall below -30 degrees Celsius
Common desert animals include snakes & lizards, scorpions, ants, beetles, migratory & resident birds, & seed-eating rodents
Water conservation is a common adaptation w/ some species surviving solely on water obtained from breaking down carbs in seeds
Savanna occurs in equatorial & subequatorial regions
Seasonal rainfall averages 30-50 cm per year. The dry season can last up to 8-9 months
The savanna is warm year round, averaging 24-29 degrees Celsius but w/ somewhat more seasonal variation than in tropical rainforest
The scattered trees found are often thorny & have small leaves as an adaptation to dry conditions
Large plant eating mammals like lions, zebras, hyenas, & dominant herbivores are insects especially termites
The veldts of South Africa, the pampas of Argentina & the plains and prairie of central North America are examples of temperate grasslands
Precipitation is often highly seasonal w/ relatively dry winters & wet summers. Annual precipitation generally averages b/w 30 & 100 cm. Periodic drought is common
This biome occurs in midlatitude coastal regions on several continents
Chaparral in North America,
in Spain & Chile,
in southern France &
in South Africa
Precipitation is highly seasonal w/ rainy winters & dry summers. Annual precipitation generally falls within the range of 30-50 cm
Fall, winter, & spring are cool w/ average temperature in range of 10-12 degrees Celsius. Average summer temperature can reach 30 degrees Celsius & daytime maximum temperature can exceed 40 degrees Celsius
Chaparral is dominant by shrubs & small trees along w/ many kinds of grasses & herbs
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Northern Coniferous Forest
Extending in broad band across northern North America & Eurasia to the edge of the artic tundra, the northern coniferous forest, or
is the largest terrestrial biome on Earth
Annual precipitation generally ranges from 30 to 70 cm, & periodic droughts are common. Some coastal coniferous forest of the U.S. Pacific Northwest are temperate rain forest that may receive over 300 cm of annual precipitation
Winters are usually cold; summers maybe hot. Some areas of coniferous forest in Siberia typically range in temperature from -50 degrees Celsius in winter & over 20 degree Celsius in summer
This biome is dominated by cone bearing trees such as pine, spruce, fir, & hemlock
The mammals of this biome include moose, brown bears, siberian tigers
Temperate Broadleaf Forest
It is found mainly at midlatitudes in the Northern Hemisphere; w/ smaller areas in Chile, South Africa, Australia, & New Zealand
Precipitation can avg from about 70 to over 200 cm annually. Significant amounts fall during all seasons, including summer rain & in some forests, winter snow
Winter temperature avg 0 degrees C Summers, w/ temps up to 35 degrees C are hot & humid
The dominant plants are deciduous trees which drop their leaves before winter
Many animals hibernate in winter while many bird species migrate to warmer climates
Tundra covers expansive areas of the Artic; amounting to 20% of Earth's land surface. High winds & low temperature produce similar plant comunities, called
on very high mountaintops at all latitudes including the tropics
Precipitation avg from 20 to 60 cm annually in artic tundra by may exceed 100 cm in alpine tundra
Winters are cold, w/averages in some areas below -30 degrees C. Summer temps generally avg less than 10 degrees C
The vegetation of tundra is mostly herbaceous consisting of a mixture of mosses, grasses, & forbs along/ w dwarf shrubs & treed & lichen
Large grazing musk oxen are resident while caribou & reindeer are migratory. Predators include bear, wolves, & foxes.
Many aquatic biomes are physically & chemically stratified vertically & horizontally
Different Types of Aquatic Biomes
Standing bodies of water range from pond a few square meters in area to lakes covering thousands of square kilometers
Temperate lakes may have a seasonal thermocline; tropical lowland lakes have a thermocline year round
Oligotropic lakes are nutrient poor & generally oxygen rich
Eutropic lakes are nutrient rich & often depleted of oxygen in the deepest zone in summer & if covered w/ ice in winter
High rates of decomposition in deeper layers of eutrophic lakes cause periodic oxygen depletion
The amount of decomposable organic matter in bottom sediment is low in oligotropic lakes & high in eutropic lakes
A wetland is a habitat that in inundated by water at least some of the time & that supports plants adapted to water-saturated soil.
Some wetlands are inundated at all times, whereas others flood infrequently
B/c of high organic production by plants & decomposition by microbes & other organisms both the water & the soils are periodically low in dissolved oxygen
Wetlands have a high capacity to filter dissolved nutrients & chemical pollutants
Streams & Rivers
Headwater streams are generally cold, clear, & turbulent & swift
Farther downstream, where numerous tributaries may have joined forming a river the water is warmer & more turbid b/c of suspended sediment
The most prominent physical characteristic of steams & rivers is the speed & volume of their flow
The salt & nutrient content of stream & river increases from the headwaters to the mouth
A large fraction of the organic matter in rivers consist of dissolved or highly fragmented material that carried by the current from forested streams
6 major fields of Ecology
Analyzes factors that affect population size & how & why it changes through time
Includes the subdisciplines of physiology & behavior meet the challenges posed by it environment
Examines how species interactions such as predation & competition affect community structure & organization
Emphasizes energy flow & chemical cycling b/w organisms & the environment
Focuses on the factors contolling exchanges of energy, materials & organisms across multiple ecosystems
Examines how the regional exchange of energy & materials influences the functioning & distribution of organisms across the biosphere
Population Density & Dispersion
The density of a population is the # of individuals per unit area or volume: the # of oak tree per square kilo in Minnesota
Population size & density can be determined by counting all individuals within the boundaries of the populations
Dispersion is the pattern of spacing among individuals within the boundaries of the population
We could count all the sea stars in the tide pool for instance
Differences in local density are among the most important characteristics for a population ecologists to study, since they provide insight into the environmental associations & social interactions of individuals in the population
The most common pattern of dispersion is
in which indivduals are aggregated in patches
Plants & fungi are often clumped where soil conditions & other environmental factors favor germination & growth
Models of population growth
The Logistic Growth Model
In the Logistic Growth Model, the per capita rate of increase approaches zero as the population size nears the carrying capicity
The model describes how a population grows more slowly as it nears its carrying capacity
The Exponential Growth Model
Population increase under these conditions called exponential population growth, occurs when inst curve is greater than zero & is constant in each instant in time
Under ideal conditions, the per capita rate of increase may assume the max rate for the species
Factors that affect population growth
6 major density dependent factors
humans competing for fossil fuels
larger population cause more disease to spread around such as Malaria or small pox
being a prey to predators (a mouse is a prey to snakes)
animals fighting for territory
2 density independent factors
tsunami, volcano eruption
Loss of food supply
disease wipe certain species out & there is loss of food supply
Humans population growth
The human population dramatically started to increase in the late 1800s early 1900s during the Industrial Revolution
Reasons were better farming techniques, clean water, more resources, & mainly the discovery of germs & antibiotics causing an improvement in ppl's health