behavioral ecology


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Behavioral ecology

The branch of ecology that focuses on the evolutionary causes of variation in behavior among populations and species. Thus it is concerned with the adaptiveness of behavior, the ultimate questions of why animals behave as they do, rather than the proximate questions of how they behave. The principles of natural selection are applied to behavior with the underlying assumption that, within the constraints of their evolutionary histories, animals behave optimally by maximizing their genetic contribution to future generations. For example, animals must maintain their internal physiological conditions within certain limits in order to function properly, and often they do this by behavior. Small organisms may avoid desiccation by living under logs or by burrowing. Many insects must raise body temperatures to 86–95°F (30–35°C) for effective flight, and achieve this by muscular activity such as the shivering of butterflies in the early morning or by orienting to the Sun. Other adaptive behaviors that are studied may fall in the categories of habitat selection, foraging, territoriality, and reproduction. See Behavior genetics, Ethology, Migratory behavior, Reproductive behavior

behavioral ecology

[bi′hāv·yə·rəl ē′käl·ə·jē]
(ecology)
The branch of ecology that focuses on the evolutionary causes of variation in behavior among populations and species.
References in periodicals archive ?
While the specialist will find this overview useful, it, and the volume as a whole is written as part of a persuasive argument for the newcomer or sceptic: 'The specific claim of this volume--that behavioral ecology theory is an essential tool in the analysis of the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture--is set within a broader assertion: that behavioral ecology can be used to understand prehistory in general' (p.
THE ISLAND CHUMASH: BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY OF A MARITIME SOCIETY
A new movement toward integrating these two disciplines is indicated by the recent publication of four books (Animal Behavior and Wildlife Conservation 2003; Behaviour and Conservation 2000; Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology 1998; and Behavioral Approaches to Conservation in the Wild 1997) and several journal articles (e.
Her research interests include gender in science issues and behavioral ecology of fiddler crabs.
Wildlife Ecology, Conservation, Aquaculture, Physiological Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Reproductive Biology, Ecological Genetics, Biogeography, and Systematics).
Biological anthropology has made important contributions to understandings of reproductive health primarily in two areas: reproductive ecology and behavioral ecology.
Behavioral ecology is a combination of ecology and ethology (Crawford, 1996).
In behavioral ecology some authors regard the innateness concept as irretrievably confused whilst others take it to refer to adaptations.
Bakker is current in his knowledge of animal behavior, behavioral ecology, and sociobiology, so that the pages are laced with all of the exciting concepts that are familiar from modern texts.
He does not appropriate uncritically the disciplines of neo-Darwinianism (ethology, behavioral ecology, biosociology, and sociobiology), all of which he understands well.
Sneakers mate about as often as big jousters do, Painting and Gregory Holwell, also at Auckland, report August 24 in Behavioral Ecology.
2) Marine Mammal Behavioral Ecology Group, Marine Biology Department, Texas A&M University at Galveston, TX 77553.

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