Animal Behavior

The course presents an integrative multi-level approach to the scientific study of animal behavior in a natural ecologically relevant context. Animal behavior is influenced by genes, the environment, and the interaction between genes and the environment. In order to fully understand behavior it is therefore necessary to know both the mechanisms underlying behavior, its adaptive value, and the evolutionary processes that shaped behavior over time. In the course we will learn that behavior is an integral part of animal adaptation to its environment. We will see how molecular, endocrine, and molecular processes are integrated to produce behavior. Among the topics to be studied: the evolution and ecology of behavior, behavioral genetics, hormones and behavior, neuroethology, the development of behavior, biological rhythms, learning and cognition, finding food and habitat, anti-predator behavior, communication, mating and courtship, parental care, and social behavior.