Course Descriptionfavorite saying

This course presents an integrated approach to the study of behavior – the phenotype through which an organism interacts with, and also modifies, its environment. We will study how behavioral phenotypes are shaped by the social and physical environment. We will analyze how behavioral phenotypes are implemented through development by neural physiology, gene networks and individual genes. Conversely, we will study how behaviors modify the environment and thus impact the physiology and genetics of organisms. These topics will be integrated through an evolutionary approach. Examples will be drawn from both laboratory and field studies using comparative molecular and behavioral approaches to identify patterns and recurring themes, which will be discussed in the context of existing theories about animal behavior

Instructor: Professor Suzy Renn
office: B124
phone: 503 517 7967

Course Files: Animal Behavior.
Course Website:

Office Hours: Monday 12:00 - 1:00
                        Friday    12:00 - 1:00
                        by appointment arranged via email

Course Meeting: section 1: MWF 9:00 - 9:50 AM
                             section 2: MWF 10:00 10:50 AM
Lab Meeting: section 1: Tues.  1:10 - 5:00
                       section 2: Wed.   1:10 - 5:00
                       section 3: Thrus. 1:10 - 5:00
(students are expected to attend enrolled section unless explicitly arranged ahead)

COURSE EXPECTATIONS: Students are expected to come to class prepared to be involved in discussion on all assigned reading. Specific days will be indicated as "Discussion days". On discussion days students are expected to complete the assigned discussion questions, bring these to class, append their response with notes during active dicussion and hand in the results. (see the details). Each student will be allowed to omit the written assignment (but not participation) for 2 of the assigned discussion days.
There will be one mid-term exam and one final.
Website: Student pairs will create a web site for an animal behavior of their choice.
Students will comment on each other's draft website 3 weeks prior to the final due date.
For templates and examples from last years course see
Students have the option to work with the freeware "NVU" or Adobe's Dreamweaver.
Assignment details are available and detailed instructions for working in Dreamweaver will be available in lab during week 4.
Student Presentations: Student pairs will choose one primary research paper on the animal behavior topic of their choice. This paper (and necessary background information) will be presented to the class in a 10 minute powerpoint (or white board) presentation followed by a discussion centered on a few questions provided to the class ahead of time. (see details).

LAB EXPECTATIONS: Students are expected to read handouts before lab. Students will generally work in pairs, though not necessarily with the same partner all semester.
Lab notebooks will be evaluated: The lab notebook is a record of work that is done in lab as it is being done. However, students are expected to also include a brief experimental plan prepared before coming to lab and may find it necessary to complete data analysis outside of official lab meeting time. All work associated with lab is expected to be recorded in the lab notebook. More detailed explanation of lab notebook expectations will be given on the first day of lab.
Independent Lab Projects: In teams of two or more, students will conduct an independent research project based on ideas generated during the planned labs or exploring any area of animal behavior using techniques that are available at Reed College. Projects will be presented at a formal poster presentation session attended by all students. Projects will be evaluated by instructor and fellow students based upon experimental design, execution, and appropriate of analysis(not based on results).

Late work will be accepted with a penalty of 10% each day unless prior arrangements are made. Penalty-free extensions will be given in the case of illness documented by the health center.
Please speak with me early in the semester if there is a way I can facilitate your success in this course. I am committed to accommodating all disabilities.



Principles of Animal Behavior; by Lee Alan Dugatkin. First Edition

Measuring Behavior: an introductory guide by Paul Martin and Patrick Bateson (either edition on reserve or may be purchased online)

Primary Literature; links will be provided in the online syllabus whenever possible.
Students are expected to print out, & bring to class, all primary literature papers for discussion, or bring a laptop with the .pdf file. It is not possible to "discuss" a paper without having it available during the discussion.

Popular Book: Each student will read one popular book written by an animal behavior researcher about doing animal behavior research. A list of appropriate books available at Reed is provided (other may be acceptable). (see details)



  • Exams 20%
  • Website 10%
  • Discussion and Participation 15%
  • Student presentation 10%
  • Labs Write-ups 10%
  • Lab Notebook 15%
  • Lab Participation 5%
  • Independent Project 15%



Assigned Readings are listed here. Note that labs include assigned reading. Individual week web pages contain further instruction and additional suggested reading.

assignments etc
1 30 Home Room Information    

observing behavior

Sept1 Darwin, on animal Behavior Darwin_chapter8_origin_of_species  
3 Overview of the course using cricket behavior as an example. handout  
2 6   Labor Day, no class   JWatcher
8 ZOO Topics

David Shepherdson from the zoo
extra reeding Swaisgood and Shepherdson 2005
look at papers in the journal "Zoo Biology"


extra Hosey, G.R. (1997)
extra Chapter 15 (play)
10 Tinbergen's 4 questions D: chapter 1
Tinbergen (1963) & Thiery (2005)
Discussion Questions due in class
3 13
1 behavior 4 questions: Birdsong
observation techniques for Zoo lab

Marler and Tamura (1964) & Brenowitz, et al (1997)
M&B ch:4-7 or Altman (1974)


Zoo Trip

Altman 1974
and/ or
Martin and Bateson chapter 4 - 7 on reserve.

15 Animal Behavior in terms of Natural Selection D: chapter 2


17 Animal Behavior in terms of Physiology and Genes D: chapter 3  
4 20 Behavioral Genetics

Trutt 1999


Present moc-Grant Proposal from Zoo.

Start with

22 Behavioral Genetics Boake et al 2002;  
24 Behavioral Genetics

Boake et al 2002;

5 27  

Boake et al 2002; Heckel 2010; Vosshall 2007

extra: Gould 2010

Drosophila Behaivoral genetics part1 (larval foraging behavior)

29 Animal Behavior in terms of Sexual Selection

D: chapter 6 & 7
Clutton Brock 2007
Anderson and Simmons 2006

extra background: Crews 1994
Oct.1 Sex-role behavior & Cryptic selection Eens and Pinxten 2001  
6 4 Sex-role behavior & Cryptic selection Paczolt & Jones 2010
short review by Berglund 2010
Discussion Day - Pipefish Drosophila Behaivoral genetics part2 (adult mating behavior & genotyping)
6 Mating systems and
Alternate reproductive tactics
D: chapter 7
Nair and Young 2006
Gross 1996
8 Communication D; chapter 12
Endler and Basolo 1998

D: chapter 6 pp 211-215
7 11 Communication D; chapter 12
Endler and Basolo 1998

D: chapter 6 pp 211-215
13 Migration and Orientation D: chapter 13 see weekly website for additional reading
15 Migration and Orientation D: chapter 13

9 25 Foraging Behavior D: chapter 10   Statistics
27 Student who's who presentation.    
29 Student who's who presentation   WEBSITE DRAFT DUE
10 Nov.1 Student who's who presentation   Independent Projects
3 who's who - review -
& research seminar
5 no class EXAM (TAKE HOME) DUE by 9:00 Nov. 8th WEBSITE COMMENTS DUE
11 8 Student paper presentations   Discussion Day (questions 2B posted) Independent Projects
10 Student paper presentations   Discussion Day (questions 2B posted)
12 Foraging Behavior D: chapter 10  
12 15 Adaptationsists

Gould & Lewontin (1979) &
Mayr (1983)

Discussion Questions due in class Independent Projects
17 Kinship and Cooperation

D: chapter 8 & 9

Sinervo 2006
Keller 1998
Queller 2003
19 Game Theory
Green Beards
Axelrod and Hamilton 1981  
13 22 Student paper presentations FINAL WEBSITES DUE Discussion Day (questions 2B posted) Independent Projects
24 Student paper presentations   Discussion Day (questions 2B posted)
26   Thanksgiving Holiday - no class  
14 29 finish game theory    

Data Analysis and Clean up.


Dec 1 History or Animal Behavior.
What is and isn't Animal Behavior?
Levitis et al 2009 suggested: Marler 2004; Marler 2005; Chapter 1 of Drikamer & Vessey
3 Animal Personality Sih 2004 and chapter 17 see weekly page for aditional reading
15 6 Parasites Sapolsky (2003)
Haspel and Libersat 2008

Data Analysis Poster Prep and Clean up.


8 EXAM EXAM exam



14 FINALS DATE Poster Presentations