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 ?
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 (http://www.
Most analyses of how microbes come to laugh off the drugs and disinfectants that should kill them have focused on people in hospitals or livestock on farms, says Kathryn Arnold, a behavioral ecologist at the University of York in England.
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.
One of my mentors in graduate school was a behavioral ecologist named Edwin Willems.
When behavioral ecologist Paul Sherman steps into his laboratory at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, he enters another world.
Martha Crump, a behavioral ecologist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, suggesting that the new paper would convince the last remaining skeptics.

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