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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Compare innate and learned behavior
  • Discuss how movement and migration behaviors are a result of natural selection
  • Discuss the different ways members of a population communicate with each other
  • Give examples of how species use energy for mating displays and other courtship behaviors
  • Differentiate between various mating systems
  • Describe different ways that species learn

Behavior is the change in activity of an organism in response to a stimulus. Behavioral biology is the study of the biological and evolutionary bases for such changes. The idea that behaviors evolved as a result of the pressures of natural selection is not new. Animal behavior has been studied for decades, by biologists in the science of ethology    , by psychologists in the science of comparative psychology, and by scientists of many disciplines in the study of neurobiology. Although there is overlap between these disciplines, scientists in these behavioral fields take different approaches. Comparative psychology is an extension of work done in human and behavioral psychology. Ethology is an extension of genetics, evolution, anatomy, physiology, and other biological disciplines. Still, one cannot study behavioral biology without touching on both comparative psychology and ethology.

One goal of behavioral biology is to dissect out the innate behaviors , which have a strong genetic component and are largely independent of environmental influences, from the learned behaviors , which result from environmental conditioning. Innate behavior, or instinct, is important because there is no risk of an incorrect behavior being learned. They are “hard wired” into the system. On the other hand, learned behaviors, although riskier, are flexible, dynamic, and can be altered according to changes in the environment.

Innate behaviors: movement and migration

Innate or instinctual behaviors rely on response to stimuli. The simplest example of this is a reflex action    , an involuntary and rapid response to stimulus. To test the “knee-jerk” reflex, a doctor taps the patellar tendon below the kneecap with a rubber hammer. The stimulation of the nerves there leads to the reflex of extending the leg at the knee. This is similar to the reaction of someone who touches a hot stove and instinctually pulls his or her hand away. Even humans, with our great capacity to learn, still exhibit a variety of innate behaviors.

Kinesis and taxis

Another activity or movement of innate behavior is kinesis    , or the undirected movement in response to a stimulus. Orthokinesis is the increased or decreased speed of movement of an organism in response to a stimulus. Woodlice, for example, increase their speed of movement when exposed to high or low temperatures. This movement, although random, increases the probability that the insect spends less time in the unfavorable environment. Another example is klinokinesis, an increase in turning behaviors. It is exhibited by bacteria such as E. coli which, in association with orthokinesis, helps the organisms randomly find a more hospitable environment.

Questions & Answers

Describe the factors affecting homotasis
Grace Reply
prove starch in a mango leaf
Ruth Reply
prove starch in a leaf
Ruth
draw and name the plant cell
Nalongo
wat is classification
Nalongo
levels of classification
Nalongo
classification of what
Ezenwa
Nidhipal
Nidhi
Identify the caste of termites or Honey bees
Mensah Reply
Soldier Winged reproductive Worker King and queen
Franklina
what is biology
Jackson Reply
biology is a study of living organism
Brilliant
what is the myelin sheath?
description on how an enzyme such as pepsin breaks down a substrate
linister Reply
what is biology
Kanzy Reply
study of life
Tufail
the study of life..meaning studying all aspects of life in humans,animals and everything inside the global
Nalukui
study of life
Memory
is the branch of science which deal with the study of living and non living things
David
Is the study of living organisms or living things
Franklina
draw the taxonomic hierarchy of classification
KC Reply
Kingdom Class Order Family Genus Species
Franklina
explain the following bush burning, deforestation, over grazing
Thomas Reply
what is biodiversity
Tracy
No idea
nana
Please what are alleles
nana
Deforestation: this is the cutting down of trees without planting new ones
Brilliant
over grazing is the continuously planting of crops in one particular land.
Friday
what is afforestation
Friday
Bush burning is the removal of the natural vegetation cover, that protects the soil surface through the use of fire. Deforestation is the actor process of establishing a forest especially on land not previously forested.
Franklina
Over grazing is the practice of grazing toi many livestock for too long a period on a land unable to recover its vegetation.
Franklina
what is physiology
Joseph Reply
the study of physical things
Nalukui
dealing with those things which you can see by your neck eyes
Odwa
Further explanation please
nana
the study of things tt interact with time,energy
David
Is the scientific study of chemistry and physics of the structure of the body
Franklina
can a lactating mother get pregnant
Elias Reply
what is cell
Deng Reply
the basic building blocks of all living matter...
Izzati
cell is a basic unit of life
MAI
building blocks ie cells not a cell there4 a cell is the basic unit of biotic things
David
Cell is a basic unit of life
Malekhotla
A cell is the basic structural and functional unit of life
Franklina
A cell is the basic unit of life,it include both plant and animals need a cell
Thomas
what's microscope
Emmanuel Reply
is any instrument that use to wiew or to see the small object that you can't see with our naked eye
MR
is any instrument used to magnifie small object
Memory
Is an instrument that produces an enlarged image of an object or specimen that is too small to be seen with our naked eye
Franklina
what is the function of the spinal cord
Gaone Reply
For responsible of movement and sensation
Franklina
A cell is the structural and fictional unit of life
Evelyn Reply
what is tidal volume
Erick
tidal volume is the volume of each breath measured during inspiration or expiration or averged for the entire respiratory cycle
Gaone
Give function of the long strands of slippery or jelly like substance in eggs of the amphibians in water ?
Erick
the long strands of slippery or jelly like substance him eggs of amphibians in water helps in keeping the eggs moist and protection from predators
Gaone
sorry not him in
Gaone
what's is microscope
Emmanuel
How do bacteria useful?
Bisirikirwa

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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