Laboratory on the Evolution of Animal Behavior (Writing Intensive)


This course explores the costs, benefits and constraints that drive the evolution of animal behavior. It is divided into four modules that cover a range of common empirical and numerical tools in modern evolutionary biology (no prior experience in any of the following topics is necessary). MODULES: (1) a brief overview of basic statistics and a tutorial in R; (2) an experimental lab on agonistic behavior in crickets; (3) a computer simulation lab on the evolution of animal communication; and (4) a phylogenetic comparative analysis lab exploring the topic of sexual selection. Laboratory modules are hands-on and student driven. They begin with an overview of relevant literature and a discussion of key questions that have been addressed experimentally in that field. Students are then encouraged (and guided) to apply these concepts into the design, execution, and analysis of individual and/or collaborative research projects. In the process, they learn how to apply some of the latest numerical and/or empirical research tools in evolutionary biology. A majority of class time is devoted to active learning through the collection and analysis of data (each lab module lasts 4 weeks). The course also includes weekly presentations by the instructor and class discussions on topics that help place the students' work into the broader context of evolutionary theory. Bio 2970 and Permission of instructor. This course is Writing Intensive.
Course Attributes: FA NSM; BU SCI; AR NSM; AS NSM; AS WI I