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Syllabus

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INTRODUCTION TO ANIMAL BEHAVIOR  (ZOO 4926, Section 1E11)

T Period 10 (5:10-6:00), Th Period 10-11 (5:10-7:05) Little Hall: room 109                                                                                                            (printer-friendly version)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This 3-credit course is a survey of animal behavior, the study of animal behavior from a zoological and evolutionary perspective. We discuss both the mechanisms and the adaptive significance of behavior in a wide diversity of species, including wild, domestic and companion animals. How does behavior evolve? Is there a genetic basis to behavior? How does behavior develop in the individual? Do animals have culture and do they transmit information socially? Do principles of animal behavior apply to human behavior? Do animals show altruism? Do animals communicate and, if so, what are they talking about? How do animals choose mates? Why do animals fight? The nature/nurture debate and sociobiology, motivation, hormones, homing, escape responses, foraging, parental care, sexual selection and the evolution of sociality are discussed in a wide range of species. Basic biological principles (e.g. natural selection, evolution) and basic scientific principles (e.g. scientific method, phylogenetic analysis and statistics) are discussed in the context of animal behavior. Skills needed by any professional life scientist (e.g. observation, experimental design, data analysis, writing) are an important part of this course.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

Prerequisites: There are no formal requirements, however, Bio 2011 is strongly suggested.

Class Time: Lectures are held T, Th in Little Hall Room 109, period 10 (Tues) and 10-11 (Thurs).

Office hours:  I hold office hours on Thursdays from 1-3 in Bartram Hall, Room 316.  Please contact me for appointments at other times.

Required Texts and Reading: The text is Animal Behavior by John Alcock 2009 (9th edition only, Sinauer Associates Publ.). Supplementary material for lectures, discussions and labs will be available on this course web site. Both the texts and the supplementary materials are required. It is important that you read the assigned material very carefully before each lab or lecture. The lectures and labs assume that you have done all the reading for that week, so please keep up with the weekly reading assignments. A schedule of the reading is given on the course syllabus that is on this course web site.

Course Web Site: All material is provided on the course web site http://www.animalsbehave.com.  Daily assignments are accessed through the “schedule” link at the top of this page. Access to much of the material on the web site will require your Gatorlink name and password. Please consult our web site for up-to-date information, deadlines and additional information for the lectures and labs. It is very important that you keep up with the material in this course!

Evaluation: Your lecture grade is based on daily assignments/ quizzes and class participation, one two-hour mid-term exam given in the evening (25%), and one two-hour final (25%) which may have a take-home essay component. See schedule for dates and times. See me if there are unavoidable conflicts. There will be short assignments or quizzes for nearly every class period (5 points each), including some in-class work. To complete these you will need to be in class, so class attendance is required. I will drop your lowest 3 scores on these assignments.

Policy on late assignments: The grade on all assignments will drop one grade for each day that they are late, so please keep up.

Throughout the course we ask that you integrate the material you have learned in lecture with what you read in the text and supplementary material provided on the web site, with the class discussions and with the observations you are making, the methods you are learning and the experiments you are conducting in the laboratory. It is all one course and it is expected that lessons learned in one part will be applied to other parts.

Please Note: The lectures and all materials provided for this course are the property of the instructors and may not be used for any commercial purposes. Lectures may not be taped without prior permission.

Honesty. It is expected that you will exhibit ethical behavior concerning your work in this course. Students are expected to do their own work, use their own words on papers and reference all outside sources always. Failure to uphold the standards of academic honesty will result in the appropriate disciplinary action. Academic honesty pledge: “I understand that the University of Florida expects its students to be honest in all of their academic work. I agree to adhere to this commitment to academic honesty and understand that my failure to comply with this commitment may result in disciplinary action, up to an including expulsion from the University.” University of Florida Rule 6C1-4.

Accommodation. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation.

Current UF grading policies for assigning grade points. This may be achieved by including a link to the appropriate undergraduate catalog web page http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/catalog/policies/regulationgrades.html .

Chairman of the Department of Biology: Dr. Alice Harmon, 220 Bartram.

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