last update - December 9, 2013 12:15 PM

Class Schedule

Ethogram Instructions

Course Overview: This course is a general introduction to animal behavior. We will examine behavior within the framework of Tinbergen s four area s of inquiry: causation (mechanisms), development, function and evolution (phylogeny) with an emphasis on behavioral ecology and the process by which questions in animal behavior are answered. An important part of class will be the reading and discussion of primary scientific literature.

Prerequisites: Prerequisite for this course is Biol 115 or 116 or permission of the instructor.

Text and reading: The text for this class is Principles of Animal Behavior (PAB) by Lee Alan Dugatkin. Required reading is indicated below. Many weeks there will be supplementary material from the primary literature to read. In general, these readings will be from the journals Animal Behaviour or Behavioral Ecology, both of which can read online through LBIS. Please read the assigned chapters before attending class on Monday. Assignments from the primary literature will be discussed in detail during class periods. Read this material such that you will be able to explain it to your classmates.

Class attendance and participation: Class participation and attendance will account for 10% of your grade. I encourage you to speak up. Ask for clarification. Share your ideas and your insights. Brilliance is not the point. Discovery and understanding are the goals. Questions are welcomed at all times. Don't be surprised if I ask you questions when I don't hear from you otherwise. All of this contributes to your participation grade.

Attendance is mandatory. You are allowed two unexcused absences before it affects your grade. After that, your final average will be degraded by 1% for every unexcused absence. Class begins at 9:40. Be prepared to begin at that time. Chronic late arrivals will be counted as absences.

Short response assignments: Some weeks, you will be you will be asked to write a very short (<1 page, double-spaced, typed/computer printed) response to a question, usually regarding your weekly assignment or an original journal article to be discussed in class. The purpose of these assignments is to help you get ready for class discussion and to stimulate thinking. Short responses will be graded with a check, check-plus, or check-minus. Short reponses are always due at the beginning of class on the day of the assignment. Late submissions will not be accepted after noon on the day assigned. Short responses will account for 10% of your grade.

Ethogram: The study of animal behavior starts with watching animals. Interesting questions often arise from direct observation. An ethogram is a complete description of an animal s behavior based on direct observation of the animal in nature. You will choose an animal in nature, observe it in its natural habitat, record data describing its behavior, analyze those data and write an account of that animal s behavior, posing questions and answering them with the data you have collected. The Ethogram will account for 30% of your final grade. See the ethogram instruction sheet for details.

Exams: There will be two midterm exams and one final. These are primarily essay exams. Generally, I will give you a set of questions, from which you are expected to choose four or five to answer. Each midterm is worth 15% of your grade. The final is worth 20%.

Academic honesty: This class will follow the official Kenyon College position on academic honesty .

Need help?: If at any time, you feel that you do not have the proper background to understand the material that is being presented, please let me know. If you have a disability and therefore may have need for some type of accommodation(s) in order to participate fully in this class, please feel free to discuss your concerns in private with me and also self identify yourself to Erin Salva, Coordinator of Disability Services at PBX 5453 or via e-mail at SALVAE.

Grading: I suggest you check with me early in the term if you have any doubts about how well you are doing. It doesn't pay to wait until the last week to ask how you can improve your grade. To summarize the components of the class grade described above:

Exam 1 = 15%
Exam 2 = 15%
Final exam = 20%
Ethogram = 30%
Short response papers = 10%
Class attendance and participation = 10%

Deadlines and conflicts:  Work in this class that is handed in late will be penalized 1/3 grade per day (except for weekly writing assignments, which will not be accepted at all after noon on the due date).  For example, a B+ will become a B.  If conflicts exist with scheduled extracurricular events, students must contact me one week before the date to discuss ways to handle the conflict.  In the case of confilicts with exams, I expect that students will take the exam before the scheduled date.  Written assignments should be handed in before the due date if a class is to be missed because of a scheduled event.

Tentative Schedule:  (subject to change as the semester progresses)
Week of Topic Readings
Aug 29


Sept 2

Animal Behavior as a science

September 5 (Thurs)- Ethogram: choice of study animal due

PAB Chapter 1

Karl Popper (for Tuesday)

Farkas (for Thursday)

Sept 9

Selection, Behavior, and Genetics

PAB Chapter 2, Chapter 4 (ppg. 104-118)

For Thursday: Helbig, Lim et al.

Sept 16

Proximate Mechanisms

September 17 (Tues) - Ethogram: behavioral catalog due

PAB Chapter 3
For Thursday:
Carazo et al.,
Sept 23

Proximate Mechanisms

September 26 (Thurs) First Midterm - EXAM KEY


Sept 30

Proximate Mechanims: Learning

PAB Chapter 4 (Ch. 4, ppg. 119-123), Chapter 5

Oct 7

Complex Mechanisms


October11-12 Reading Days (no class Thursday)

For Tuesday:
Roth et al., Weiss et al.

Oct 14

Cultural Transmission

October 15 (Tues) - Ethogram: initial time budget/behavioral summary due

Ethogram: testable hypothesis due - Due Oct. 17 (Thurs)

PAB Chapter 6

For Thursday: Bates & Chappell (Culture)

Oct 21



Oct 28

Sex-specific Behavior - short response due Tuesday

PAB Chapter 7

Doucet & Montgomerie, Cratsley & Lewis

Nov 4

Mating Systems

ETHOGRAM Results - Due on 4th


PAB Chapter 8

Nov 11

Mating Systems & Cooperation

Second Midterm - TAKE-HOME - DUE Tuesday Nov. 19 in class - EXAM KEY

PAB Chapter 9, 10

Reading for Thursday: Lesku et al.

Nov 18

Economics of Foraging

PAB Chapter 11
Nov 25


Dec 2


First Draft of Ethogram Poster Due - Midnight, Dec 2 (Monday)


Dec 9

Poster to be submittted to P:drive by Monday, Dec. 9, 8AM

Ethogram Poster Sessions Tuesday and Thursday

December 12 (Thurs)
- Final ethogram paper due by 5:00PM


Final Exam Dec. 16, 8:30 AM




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