Field Animal Behavior

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EEB 3898: Field Animal Behavior

May Term, May 12th - 30th, 2014 MTWThF 9am-12pm Torrey Life Sciences, Rm 313

Instructor: Dr. Kristiina Hurme

Office: TLS 379

Phone: 860-486-5434

Office hours: variable & flexible (call, email, drop by)

Course Objectives

➢ Learn how to observe animal behavior

➢ Notice animal behavior in our daily lives

➢ Learn how to take field notes

➢ Learn and apply basic field techniques, study design, and data analysis

➢ Develop a research project

➢ Improve collaboration skills

Course Materials


• Required

o Binoculars (available from us if you don’t have any)

o Field notepad/notebook

o Watch with countdown timer that beeps

o Closed-toe shoes (no sandals) or hiking boots, & proper outdoor clothing (poison ivy, weather)

• Recommended

o Field Guides (birds, mammals, insects, etc.) for New England or Eastern US

o Camera

o Polarized sunglasses (for viewing fish in water)

o Insect repellent (ticks, mosquitoes)

o Sunscreen, hat

Tentative* schedule

Day Topic Day Topic Day Topic
M 12 Course introduction and timeline; What is behavior? M 19 Bicentennial Pond; Field notebooks (First Submission) M 26 MEMORIAL DAY - NO CLASS; make observations on your own!
T 13 Observational methods; HorseBarn Hill T 20 Individual project presentations (Introduction and Methods); Media Project proposal due T 27 Leave at 8am, Return at 2pm- Trip to Coast / Field notebooks due (Final Submission)
W 14 Field research techniques, hypotheses testing, study design, and data analysis; local observations W 21 MIDTERM EXAM; field observations after; 7-9pm - Night time trip to Fenton W 28 Project presentations (final) and assisted work on media project
Th 15 Leave at 8am, Return at 2pm - Trip to Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, CT; Ethograms Th 22 Individual project data collection I (Methods adjustment) Th 29 Media Project Presentations; Review session for the final
F 16 Project guidelines discussion and selection (written ideas); Fenton River F 23 Individual project data collection II F 30 FINAL EXAM; Instructor evaluations

*: Schedule is subject to change pending weather conditions, or unforeseen observation and research opportunities.


Exams: May 21st (MIDTERM) [50 points]; May 30th (FINAL) [50 points]

Media Project: May 20th (Proposal) [10 points]; May 29th (Presentation) [45 points]

Project Presentations: May 20th (Intro and Methods) [30 points]; May 28th (Final) [40 points]

Field Notebook Submissions: May 19th (First) [20 points]; May 27th (Final) [25 points]

iNaturalist submissions: 2+ observations/day = 30 obs. [15 points];

5 min observations: 10 x 2 points [20 points]

Ethograms: 3 x 5 points [15 points]

Field trips = Behavioral observations (5 points each): Dates will be weather dependent [30 points]

Total: [350 points]

Grading scale: A = 100-90%, B = 89-80%, C = 79-70%, D = 69-60%, F = 59-0%. Plus/minus system will be used for the final grade.

Additional References & Websites

• Alcock, J (2001). Animal Behavior - An Evolutionary Approach (7th ed.). Sinauer Associates Inc. Publishers.

• Krebs, J. R. and N. B. Davies (1993). An Introduction to Behavioral Ecology (3rd ed.). Blackwell Scientific Publications.

• Martin, J. and P. Bateson (1993). Measuring Behaviour (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.


• Eastern Forests: A field guide to birds, mammals, trees, flowers, and more. Peterson Field Guides.

Peregrine Falcon webcam

Osprey webcam

Website design by Diego Sustaita; Modified by Kristiina Hurme