Reviews selected issues including learning, cognition, perception, foraging and feeding, migration and navigation, defense, and social activities including conflict, collaboration, courtship and reproduction, and communication. The interacting contributions of environment and heredity are examined and the approaches of psychology, ethology, and ecology to this area of study are treated. The relation of human behavior patterns to those of nonhuman animals is explored. Additional readings and a paper are required for graduate credit.
Most of the major categories of adaptive behavior can be seen in all animals. This course begins with the evolution of behavior, the driver of nervous system evolution, reviewed using concepts developed in ethology, sociobiology, other comparative studies, and in studies of brain evolution. The roles of various types of plasticity are considered, as well as foraging and feeding, defensive and aggressive behavior, courtship and reproduction, migration and navigation, social activities and communication, with contributions of inherited patterns and cognitive abilities. Both field and laboratory based studies are reviewed; and finally, human behavior is considered within the context of primate studies.
In this lesson, students learn how adaptations, limiting factors, and predator prey relationships all affect the survival of plants and animals. Predator-prey relationships are simulated in two games, where students record their experiences and display data in story and chart/graph form, and explore the adaptations of animals in terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Extension activities include habitat investigations in natural areas.
In this activity students look at images of white-tailed deer behavior and use their observations to write a research question. They describe the types of observations they will make and the data they will record to turn a question into a hypothesis. This activity was developed as a part of the Creating Lessons Using Transformative Technology - Platteville Public Schools OER grant.