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 ?
At the opposite end of the spectrum are books written from either the perspective of the behavioral ecologist attempting to understand why birds build complex structures, or from the viewpoint of the physiologist trying to understand how nest structures augment the process of incubation.
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.
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.
In that case, Gonzales' suggestion that brain folding can evolve independently of brain size appears unlikely, remarks behavioral ecologist Robert Barton of Durham University 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.
It is an important research tool in her role as a behavioral ecologist and she believes the birds can teach us humans a thing or two about adapting to our environment, including how to better manage stress.
Martha Crump, a behavioral ecologist at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, suggesting that the new paper would convince the last remaining skeptics.
Everyday Explorer" behavioral ecologist Mike Heithaus, National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths Belt, and Lindblad naturalists and underwater experts will accompany the group, along with a parent or guardian for each young team member.
But behavioral ecologist Oona Lonnstedt says that she and her colleagues are the first to test the behavior experimentally.
Joshua Plotnik, a behavioral ecologist at Mahidol University in Kanchanaburi, Thailand and primatologist Frans de Waal, director of Emory University's Living Links Center did a thorough study to check exactly what these animals believe in and relate to during their times of hardship.
It wasn't too surprising that the sparrows preferred them," said Duke behavioral ecologist Susan Peters, lead author of the study.

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