Week 14. - Dec. 2nd
Finish up Game Theory, Cooperation and Green Beards. We likely won't have
much time to get to parasites
(we will need to decide whether we will do parasites or personality
on the final day)
MOODLE: Post and comment on papers regarding parasitic manipulation
of host behavior. Choose both mechanistic and ecological papers. I know
that there are even a few reports that have used genomic approaches to
understand gene regulation, after all, how can the parasite change the
function of the host's nervous system.
Probably we should have done this
one around Holloween!!
We all know about parasites. According to Webster's Dictionary it is
"an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and
by deriving nutrients at the host's expense."
But today we will focus on parasites that manipulate the behavior of
their host. We will talk about both why and how they accomplish this.
How does the altered behavior benefit the parasite? For further reading
(not focused on behavior, check out the book Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer)
Sapolsky, R. (2004) Bugs in the Brain. Scientific American, 2003
I choose this to demonstrate that it isn't just parasite/host relationships
in which one individual manipulates the behavior of another in order
to increase its own reproductive fitness. This examples describes the
direct manipulation of female behavior by its male. Stop and think
about all social interactions, and think in terms of competition and
Kapahi, P., Anderson, D.J. and Benzer, S. (2006) Allocrine
Modulation of Feeding Behavior by the Sex Peptide of Drosophila. Current
Week 14. - Dec. 4th
Adaptive Value (Discussion Question
Day--This will happen today, even if we are a bit behind the syllabus)
Answer 2 of the following 4 questions. (download
Type the answers. Bring them to class. Be prepared to discuss and amend
1) Gould and Lewontin use metaphors (the basilica of St. Marks, and Voltaire's
Candide) in order to ridicule a scientific research approach that they deem
inappropriate. Mayr contradicts these authors in a more straightforward
manner and ultimately supports the use of adaptationist thinking. Compare
and contrast the writing style in these two papers. (There is a book, Understanding
Scientific Prose, that is dedicated to the discussion of Gould and Lewontin's
2) Who are (were) Stephen J. Gould, Richard Lewontin, and Earnst Mayr?
Why are these men qualified to debate the topic of Adaptationist program?
(you'll have to look outside these papers to answer this one.
3) Mayr makes recommendations about how an adaptationist program should
be executed. Discuss those recommendations in your own words while
comparing and contrasting them to the "Alternative Strategies" as
outlined by Gould and Lewontin.
4) Define atomization and Bauplan and discuss their relative role in an
Gould & Lewontin
(1979) Spandrels of St. Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: a critique
of the adaptionist program PRS 205:581-598.
Mayr (1983) How to
Carry out the Adaptionist Program? Amer Nat 121:324-334.
The Gould and Lewontin paper created a great stir, and has been read
by all evolutionary biologists, most behavioral biologist, all ecologists,
and many other scientists. Their writig style if far from scientific. This
single paper is the focus of an entire book that examines the style more
than the content. I wouldn't expect you to read that book but the following
paper presents and interesting and very entertaining stylistic critique.
Queller (1995) The Spaniels
of St. Marx and the Panglossian Paradox: A critque of a rhetorical programme.
Quart. Rev. Biol 70:485-489.
Don't be fooled, this debate has not been layed to rest. For a modern
Lynch, M. (2007) The Frailty
of Adaptionist Hypotheses for the Origins of Organismal Complexity. PNAS 104:8597-8604.
On your own:
Because the semester is almost over, its time to reconsider
the questions "what is animal behavior" and where is this field going
in the future. A review was recently written to answer these questions
for Behavioral Ecology. Our course has covered many topics outside of
Behavioral Ecology, so we will use this review as a starting point and
discuss our ideas on the most important, most interesting, and still
unanswered questions in animal behavior.
Owens, I.P.F. (2006)
Where is behavioural ecology going? Trends
in Ecology and Evolution 21:356-361.