BIOLOGY

Lab 11: Follow the instructions and complete the assignment below. Submit your answers through the Lab 10 Assignment on Blackboard.

Lab 11 1

Lab 11 In this homework, you will practice watching a wild species of your choice while recording behaviors in a systematic manner. You’ll also learn what an ethogram is and build one for the species you chose to observe. A. Watch a species of your choice in the wild.

The only key restrictions is that it has to be a non-domesticated animal (so you can’t watch your pet dog/cat or the cows in the field next door), and the species has to be in its natural habitat (so you can’t go to a zoo). Here are some options for: you can watch any bird feeders, or go to any city parks and watch squirrels, chipmunks, ducks, the song birds around, or even maybe the fish in the creeks.

If you don’t like to be outside, or want to do this lab at night, , another amazing resource is webcams located in national parks or refuges around the world. You can pick the webcam of your choice, as long as, again, the species you’re watching is in the wild and not domesticated. Make sure the webcam you are usually is giving you live feedback, not the highlights of previous sessions. I have a few favorite webcams, although activity levels vary widely based on time of day and time zones.

Water holes in Africa: http://www.africam.com/wildlife/

Bald eagles in California: https://www.explore.org/livecams/currently-live/bald-eagle-west- end-catalina

Sea otters in California: https://explore.org/livecams/sea-otter/sea-otter-cam

Bird feeders at Cornell: http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/40/Cornell_Lab_FeederWatch_Cam/

Or you can do what I always do: check the following link, which allows you to see what’s happening at a bunch (50+) live webcams at any given time: www.explore.org/livecams/currently-live Regardless of what you end up picking, make sure it’s an animal that you enjoy watching, and that the animal is actually doing something (if you pick a lion that’s sleeping for the whole lab, you’re not going to have a whole of of fun doing this…). Have fun looking for a fun webcam!

B. Once you’ve picked a species/webcam, develop an ethogram for the species you picked for question To sample behaviors reliably, we first need to describe how we define what we call specific behaviors, such as “sit” or “feed”. An ethogram is a list of the full suite of behaviors

Lab 11: Follow the instructions and complete the assignment below. Submit your answers through the Lab 10 Assignment on Blackboard.

Lab 11 2

characteristic of an individual for a specific species, and provides a mechanism for standardizing the study of behavior. One of the most important, and difficult, steps in constructing an ethogram is naming and defining behavior patterns. Each behavior must be given a descriptive name without any implication of its possible cause or motivation and without any anthropomorphic comparisons. “Grooming”, “feeding”, “running” and “resting” are all descriptive references, whereas “jealous behavior” denotes a judgment from the observer. The descriptive name should also be as precise as you can make it; for instance, something like “foraging” is too broad, since foraging could include chewing, pecking, looking for food, hoping, moving, etc.

For this lab, build an ethogram for the species you picked that includes from 5 to 10 different descriptive names. Your ethogram should consist of a 2-column table, with one column containing the descriptive name of each behavior, and the next column describing what was included for each descriptive name. C. Conduct a 10-minute Focal Animal Survey

A focal animal survey (or FAS) is the most common type of sampling method used in animal behavior. It consists of picking one individual for the species you’ve been watching, and recording all behavior of that one specific individual for a predetermined sample period (e.g., one hour). This method can provide unbiased data relevant to a wide variety of questions, particularly if animals remain in the field of view. A standard way of recording an animal includes keeping a minute-to-minute account of the animal’s activity. At the onset of each minute, record the animal’s behavior and any other behavior observed during this minute.

For example: 9:00 feed, rest, groom 9:01 feed (animal feeds during entire minute)

9:02 feed, approached and threatened by animal B, move 2m west, sit

9:03 sit

For your homework, conduct a 10-minute FAS on one individual. If your one individual goes out of your field of view before the end of your 10 minute, make a note of it, pick another individual, and complete the rest of the 10 minutes on the new individual. Once you’re done, answer the following questions: 1. What species did you pick? Why did you pick it (justify briefly), and how did you watch it (live/webcam, etc). 2. Present your complete ethogram that you built in part B. What did you learn by building an ethogram? What is a useful tool for part C (the FAS)? 3. Present your complete FAS that you did for part C. Did you find running a FAS more/less difficult than you expected?

Lab 11: Follow the instructions and complete the assignment below. Submit your answers through the Lab 10 Assignment on Blackboard.

Lab 11 3

4. Describe the environment of the animal you watched. What do you think would happen to the behavior of the animal you watched if the environment has (1) less cover; (2) more cover; (3) more humans; (4) taller grass. Answer any of the scenarios above that make sense for your species  5. Did you enjoy watching the species you picked? Did you learn anything that surprised you? Develop.

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