Week 5 - Sept. 30th
Migration dont know

There are several good papers up on moodle. Have a look at one or two and think about the costs and benefits of migration. Also, lets start to think about mechanism. How do animals know when, what direction and how far to migrate?

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 pp 47-56 & 86-92

Emlen S.T. (1969) Bird migration:influence of physoloigcal state upo 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.


Week 5 - Oct. 2nd - Discussion Day
Neural Basis of Behavior in Birds.

birdsongWe will stick with the nervous system theme and look at plasticity of the nervous system. We will use this topic to address an issue that arises in the Nature vs. Nurture debate, or the debate of Learned vs. Innate as the early ethologist used to classify behavior. Throughout ontogeny, an organisms behavior may change, it may also change according to season, or it may change in response to external stimuli and experience (this is called learning). These behavioral changes that occur on longer time scales are often dependent upon changes in the nervous system. To keep this topic to a manageable size, we will focus on bird brains and the neural circuits that underlie the production of song.

Essential Animal Behavior p 66-76
Marler and Tamura (1964) Culturally Transmitted Patterns of Vocal Behavior in Sparrows. Science 146:1483-1486.
also available in Foundations of Animal Behavior.
Marler (2004) Innateness and the instinct to learn. Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences 76:189-200.
Brenowitz, E.A., Margoliash, D., and Nordeen, K.W. (1997) An introduction to birdsong and the avian song system. Journal of Neurobiology 33:495-500.


(Discussion Question Day on the following topic)

Pay attention to how this is different from into-bio texts:
West_Eberhard (2005) Developmental plasticity and the origin of species differences. PNAS 102:6543– 6549.

Following the suggestion of a student from last year, I've also included two reviews of West-Eberhard's book These reviews may help you to understand some of the debate that surrounds her claims and should be consulted as you prepare answers to the questions.

Answer one of the short answer questions and one of the essay questions please
(download word doc)

short- ANSWER
1) In your own words, possibly with a bit of reading outside of West Eberhard, describe the "Neo-Darwinian Synthesis" (also known as "the modern synthesis") and find out who some of the major contributors were.

2) Though it isn't central to understanding this paper, if you don't know what meiotic drive is, look it up, and then describe in your own words how selection acts differently on those genes that are involved in meiotic drive.

3) What is meant by the term "evolutionary potential"?

Short -ESSAY
4) Go back to Thierry's paper from the second week.
Identify points on which Thierry and West-Eberhard agree.
Identify points on which Thierry and West-Ebrahard would not agree.

5) Read both of the reviews of West-Eberhard's recent book. Based upon her arguments in the assigned paper, decide which reviewer you agree with and prepare a short (~ paragraph) review of the assigned paper from your position. Draw statements, or examples from her paper to support your position.