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

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

behavioral ecology

[bi′hāv·yə·rəl ē′käl·ə·jē]
The branch of ecology that focuses on the evolutionary causes of variation in behavior among populations and species.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Christoph GrE-ter, a behavioral ecologist at Mainz University.
Ryan Long, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Idaho, told the National Geographic: 'Any or all of these changes in behavior could result in changes to the distribution of elephants across the landscape, and it's those broad-scale changes that are most likely to have consequences for the rest of the ecosystem.'
"For a while, it kind of just stayed a rumour," said Brendan Barrett, a behavioral ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany and a visiting researcher at the STRI.
Jones, a behavioral ecologist at East Tennessee State University who commented on the earlier draft of the study, also said that jumping spiders will tackle prey larger than themselves when they get hungrier.
I am a behavioral ecologist, and I study how animals assess and manage predation risk.
It's that when they enter into this competition with their daughters, they lose out and their calves are more likely to die," Darren Croft, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Exeter said, according to ( NPR.
Tracking the songs of individual males showed that the order of performance had a strong effect on performance quality, behavioral ecologist David Logue of the University of Lethbridge in Canada said August 17.
(4) However, even very small decreases in exposure to POPs could have a beneficial impact during critical periods in fetal development, says Joanna Burger, a behavioral ecologist at Rutgers University.
Further, each female is sexually receptive for only 5-6 hours of a single day each year, so my students and I can record all the males with whom she mates during that small window of opportunity," behavioral ecologist John Hoogland, Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory.
Each scout reports back to the hive and, after several days of "debate," the thousands of bees come to a unanimous decision about where they'll live next, says Lars Chittka, a behavioral ecologist and head of the bee research team at Queen Mary, University of London in Britain.
Janis Dickinson, a behavioral ecologist and director of Citizen Science at the lab.
The idea that animals show off their good behavior and earn rewards from those who see it "has been floating around," says behavioral ecologist Lee Alan Dugatkin of the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

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