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Behavioral Ecology

chapter 51
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behavioral ecology
studies how behavior is controlled and how it develops, evolves, and contributes to survival and reproductive success
behavior
everything an animal does and how it does it
proximate questions
focus on the environmental stimuli, if any, that trigger a behavior, as well as the genetic, physiological, and anatomical mechanisms underlying a behavioral act' "how" questions
ultimate questions
address the evolutionary significance of a behavior; "why" questions
ethology
the scientific study of how animals behave, particularly in their natural environments
Fixed action pattern (FAP)
a sequence of unlearned behavioral acts that is essentially unchangeable and, once initiated, is usually carried to completion
sign stimulus
an external sensory stimulus that triggers a FAP
imprinting
a type of behavior that includes both learning and innate components and is generally irreversible
sensitive period
a limited phase in an animal's development that is the only time when certain behaviors can be learned
innate behavior
behavior that is developmentally
kinesis
a simple change in activity or turning rate in response to a stimulus
taxis
a more or less automatic, oriented movement toward or away from some stimulus
signal
a behavior that causes a change in another animal's behavior
communication
the transmission of, reception of, and response to signals; an essential element of interactions between individuals
pheromones
chemical substances emitted from animals that tend to communicate through odor
learning
the modification of behavior based on specific experiences
habituation
a loss of responsiveness to stimuli that convey little or no information
spatial learning
the modification of behavior based on experience with spatial structure of the environment, including the locations of nest sites, hazards, food, and prospective mates; the capacity for spatial learning can enhance the fitness of an organism
landmark
location indicator
cognitive map
an internal representation, or code, of the spatial relationships between objects in an animal's surroundings
associative learning
the ability of many animals to associate one feature of the environment with another
classical conditioning
an arbitrary stimulus is associated with a reward or punishment
cognition
the ability of an animal's nervous system to perceive, store, or process, and use information gathered by sensory receptors
cognitive ethology
the study of animal cognition; examines the connection between an animal's nervous system and its behavior
foraging
behavior associated with recognizing, searching for, capturing, and consuming food
optimal foraging theory
foraging behavior as a compromise between the benefits of nutrition and the costs of obtaining food
promiscuous
no strong pair-bonds or lasting relationships
monogamous
one male mating with one female
polygamous
an individual of one sex mating with several of the other
polygyny
a single male and many females
polyandry
single females mates with several males
agonistic behavior
an often ritualized contest that determines which competition gains access to a resource, such as food or mates
game theory
evaluates alternative strategies in situations where the outcome depends not only on each individual's strategy but also on the strategies of other individuals
altruism
some animals do behave in ways that reduce their individual fitness but increase the fitness of other individuals in the population
inclusive fitness
the total effect an individual has on proliferating its genes by producing its own offspring and by providing aid that enables other close relative to produce offspring
coefficient of relatedness
the probability that if two individuals share a common parent or ancestor, a particular gene present in one individual will also be present in the second individual
kin selection
natural selection that favors this kind or altruistic behavior by enhancing reproductive success of relatives
reciprocal altruism
behavior can be adaptive if the aided individual returns the favor in the future; invoked to explain altruism between unrelated humans
social learning
learning through observing others
culture
a system of information transfer through social learning or teaching that influences the behavior of individuals in a population
mate choice copying
a behavior in which individuals in a population copy the mate choice of others
sociobiology
where human culture is related to evolutionary theory