Week 4 - Sept 23rd

Communication plays an important role in mate choice and comptetion for mates. In a conventional situation the male must communicate his quality to the female. In competition, communication, rather than all out combat, is often used to settle the "battle". How do signals evolve? When can they be relied upon? What makes an effective signal?

But first, how you you define communication? It might seem simple at first but read Burghardt and appreciate the difficulties. Don't bother memorizing any of these definitions, think of your own and remember to explain your terms.

Essential Animal Behavior chapter 5
Burghardt (1970) Definition of Communication



Week 4 - Sept. 25th

This one should be fun! Please post and comment on papers that describe great animal migrations, or mechanisms of navigation and orientation.

Amazing migrations require amazing mechanisms. We will talk about why animals migrate as well as how animals migrate. Much of migration relies upon accurate orientation and navigation. Consider how it is that you know where you are and where you are going? Without a map, what cues could you use?

How are these migrations accomplished? What physiological changes occur in the animals? How do they know the route? What is the role of genes in establishing migration routes?

Essential Animal Behavior chapter pp 47-56 & 86-92

Emlen S.T. (1969) Bird migration:influence of physoloigcal state upon celestial orientation. Science 165:716-718.
(note: this one opens in acrobat only. It will not open in prerview)
This classic paper describes a season change in behavior. Appreciate how far our understanding has come in the past 40 years, but also note that the simple techniques developed here are still in use today. It is available in Foundations of Animal Behavior.

Moller A.P. (2001) Heritability of arrival date in a migratory bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society. 268:203-206.
In this paper, pay attention to whether or not you are convinced that there is a genetic basis to migratory timing.

Cain, S.D., Boles, L.C., Waang, J.H., Lohmann, K.J. (2005) Magnetic Orientation and Navigation in Marine Turtles, Lobsters, and Molluscs: Concepts and Conundrums. Integrative and Comparative Biology 45:539-546.
This paper provides a good summary of magentic sense in different animals. There have been some very recent advances in this area (see below) however we are still far from understanding this sense which is far from our own umwelt.

Liedvogel, M., Maeda,K., Henbest,K., Schleicher, E., Simon, T., Timmel, C.R., Hore, P.J., Mouristen, H. (2007) Chemical Magnetoreception: Bird Cryptochrome 1a Is Excited by Blue Light and Forms Long-Lived Radical-Pairs PLOSone 10:e1106
For those (like me) with a less strong background in chemistry and physics this paper may be a bit dense so focus on the conclusions. There have been a couple papers in the past year. This would be an exciting topic for a website.

Lohman, K.J. (1992) How Sea Turtles Navigate. Scientific American v?:100-106.
or check out his website for some great information and videos, some of which I will show in class.

and check out the methods on this paper about magnetic orientation in cattle.
Begall, S., Cerveny, J., Neef, j., Vojte, O., and Burda, H. (2008) Magnetic alignment in grazing and resting
cattle and deer. PNAS 105: 13451–13455.


After a Break

Platt (from last week) heavily references this paper. I found it interesting. Not often do we read papers from 1890 (except stuff by Darwin). How much of what Platt has to say still applies today?
Chamberlain, T.C. (1890) The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses. Science 15:92-97.
note: this one opens only in acrobat, not preview.