Behavioral Biology & Ecology
Behavior: animal response to stimuli in the environment:stimulus ? sensing of stimulus ? physiological reaction ? behavioral reaction
How does behavior work? ? proximate causation:behavioral biology: function of sense and neural systems, neural and hormonal interactions, control of physiological responses
Why does behavior work? ? ultimate causation:behavioral ecology: what is the adaptive value? How does behavior affect fitness and reproductive success?
Natural selection remains the bottom line
Example: male birdsong during mating season how? Temperature ? “it’s the season!”? level of steroid hormones increases ? testosterone binds to receptors in brain ? triggers singingwhy? Defend territory from males & attract females ? higher mating chance ? higher reproductive success ? spread of own genes increased