BIO 2050. Animal Behavior. Spring 2013

David Zeigler Phone: 521-6610
Oxendine 2101A

Catalog Description: A survey of the functional and complexity catagories of behavior with emphasis in the animal kingdom. Examples will range from one-celled organisms to humans. Other selected topics will include the evolution of behavior, sociobiology, animal cultures, behavioral ecology, behavioral genetics, neurobiology, consciousness and others. Three one-hour lectures and one two-hour laboratory per week. Laboratory time will consist of a mix of demonstrations, experiments, and films. PREREQ: BIO 1000 & 1020

Goals: To gain a broad overview of the topic of animal behavior. To acquire explanations and examples of the many categories of behavior, the many subdisciplines of behavioral study, and the adaptive nature and evolution of behavior. To gain some proficiency in collecting, analyzing, and writing up behavioral data in a scientific manner. To gain some proficiency in reading and summarizing behavioral papers.

Required Text: Exploring Animal Behavior: 5th edition.2010. Sherman & Alcock editors. There will be other readings in the form of handouts which will be posted to Blackboard.

Grading: There will be 3 Lecture Exams which each count 25% of the course. These will also cover any material presented in lab sessions. They will be a mix of objective and short-answer questions. The remaining 25% of the course will come from the Writing Enriched portion of the course explained below. I will use a 10-point grading scale (80-89.9 = B, etc.) and I will use the +/- system, assigning B-, B, or B+ within the B range, etc. There will be bonus points on the three exams, but there is no possibility of any other form of extra credit in this course.

My web site (above) includes my list of tips for success in university coursework. If you haven’t checked it out, you might benefit greatly from some of the ideas listed there.

Cheating: Cheating on exams will result in a zero on that exam.

Cell Phones: No professor appreciates cell phones ringing in the class. Please turn them off or to vibrator mode while in class—OFF unless you are expecting an emergency call.

Class Visitors: Please check with me beforehand if you should ever have someone with you who you want to sit in on the class session (especially so in the case of children).

Attendance: I of course expect attendance at every class meeting (both lecture & lab). If you are a responsible adult who cares about your education, you will strive for perfect attendance. I will not take attendance in lectures nor will you be either rewarded or punished for your attendance habits. Attendance in lab periods when writing enriched activities are scheduled will be noted and points deducted if you are not there to participate. Missed class notes (except handouts which are on Blackboard) will not be obtained from me. If you miss an exam, it is totally your responsibility to ask about and arrange a make-up exam with me, ideally within 48 hours of missing the exam.

Behavior: I expect you to be aware of the contents of the Academic Honor Code, found in Section IV. Rights and Responsibilites of the Student Handbook (online and hardcopy), and its wording on cheating, plagiarism, academic dishonesty, and the Code of Conduct. I especially stress that you should be in class to take notes, ask questions, give input when it is pertinent, and to give your attention to what is being presented in the class. Any continued/repetitive form of disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. You need to be respectful of the material presented and of your fellow students who have come to learn the material. As laid out in the Student Handbook under Code of Conduct (items 15 & 17), disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Should disruptive behavior become excessive, you will be asked to leave the classroom, and you must seek permission from me before reentering the class on the next class day. Continued problem behavior will be reported to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, and you may be administratively withdrawn from the class. DO NOT bring food to either lectures or lab. Drinks will be tolerated in lab if you are careful and clean up any spilled liquid.

Closing Hotline: The school does at times cancel classes for all or part of a day, usually due to bad weather. To find out if classes are running as usual, call the University Hotline at: (910) 521-6888.

The University Writing Center staff works one-on-one with UNCP students at any stage in the writing process, from brainstorming topics to drafting, editing, and formatting. UNCP students from any course or department are welcome to use the Center. Tutors work with students on all types of writing assignments, including application essays and personal statements. The Univerity Writing Center is locate in D.F. Lowry Room 308. For more information or to make an appointment students should visit

DISABILITY: Any student with a documented learning, physical, chronic health, psychological, visual or hearing disability needing academic adjustments is required to speak directly to Disablility Support Services and the instructor as early as possible, preferably within the 1st week. All discussions will remain confidential. Please contact: Disability Support Services, DF Lowery Building room 103, or call 521-6695 for an appointment.


 (I will make reading assignments in the text as we go along)

What is Behavior?
Some of the History of Ethology
The Adaptative Nature of Behavior (sexual selection, inclusive fitness, selfish genes)
Behavioral Genetics
The Evolution of Behavior

"Functional" Categories of Behavior
     * Social Behavior
     * Territorial Behavior
     * Play Behavior
     * Tool-using Behavior
     * Dormancy Behavior with emphasis on Sleep
Behavior & the Endocrine System--Hormones
Behavior & Development (Ontogeny & Aging)
Behavioral Ecology
Neurobiology & Behavior (Neuroethology)

Sociobiology (Altruism & Inclusive Fitness)
"Complexity" Levels of behavior:
* Kineses
* Taxes
* Reflexes
* Instinctive Behavior Patterns (Fixed-action patterns)
* Learning: -Habituation
          -Latent learning
          -Motor learning/memory
          -Classical conditioning
          -Operant conditioning (& Behaviorism)
          -Observational learning
          -Episodic vs. Sematic learning/memory
          -Student-teacher learning
* Reasoning: -Association reasoning/learning
          -Insight reasoning
Animal Cultures
Cognition & Consciousness; What is "Mind"?


The Writing Enriched Component:

Exercises in science writing (and reading) will be accessed at 25% of the course grade.  We are not using a traditional textbook in this course, but rather a collection of articles from American Scientist, a professional journal with articles written along the lines of Scientific American.  Though not as narrow of topic or rigidly structured as a research paper, these articles do obviously have many of the traits of good scientific writing.  We will read several of these during the course.

Assignment 1 will be to write an abstract of one of these articles.  You will be given sample abstracts to see the lean and concise style of a scientific abstract, and we will discuss some other dos and don’ts of abstract construction.  You will be asked to first outline the article describing the topic, purpose, and major points or findings included in the article.  Then you will write a first draft of the abstract which should not exceed one and a half double-spaced pages.  The class will be given some time in lab to break into groups to discuss each other’s outline, before the abstract is due.  After initial grading of the abstract (which will not be recorded), you will be given another opportunity to meet in groups to discuss what should and what should not go into the abstract, and I will be available to answer any questions you may have at that time.  The final version will be graded for content, style, and conciseness. 

Assignment 2:  We will run two simple experiments in one lab session during which we will collect data under various experimental situations.  When we leave the lab that day, we will all have a list of the data collected and the descriptions of the materials used in the experiments and the procedures.  While we will not attempt a full scientific paper on this meager data, we will be writing a Materials & Methods section in true scientific style, and we will create at least two graphs of the data with adequate Figure captions.  Again, you will be given 1-2 sample Materials & Methods sections from actual papers and asked to read and discuss these first in groups, and then with the whole class, where I will add some thoughts on what purposes a Materials & Methods section serves.  While in groups you will also compare notes on what exactly should be included in your materials & methods write-up. After you create a first draft, we will again work in groups to critique each other’s work before a final draft will be due, and again I will be available to answer questions you may have about this assignment.     

Assignment 3:  Assignment three will be another abstract, but this time the paper will be a research paper in true scientific style.  It will be a harder read and more narrow of topic, but again the same principles of abstract writing learned in the first abstract should apply.  We will by this time have a list of qualities that a good abstract should have.  We will again individually do an outline of the paper, again work in groups to come to a better understanding of what points should be included before attempting the abstract.  Again, the final abstract will be graded for content, style, and conciseness (as before max. 1.5 double-spaced pages). 

The two abstracts will count 8% each, and the Materials & Methods assignments will count 9% of the course grade.  On all three assignments, I will want an informal comments section in which you give your own thoughts on the article, the assignment, the procedures followed, etc.  This section will not be part of the grade unless you fail to include it (then points will be deduced!). 

Each assignment will be graded on your preparedness to discuss the assignments in groups and your participation in the process (2%), your preparation of the initial draft of each assignment (2%), and of course the final product (4-5%).