The course will introduce students to the ‘scientific method’ applied to animal behaviour studies, outline a little about the history of animal behaviour, including both lab-based and field-based traditions, and the recent integration of the two. They will learn, how to formulate hypotheses and predictions, and how to use the different methods in the study of animal behaviour. Through a presentation of a specific topic of investigation in animal behaviour i.e. ‘domestication’ students will learn about the pitfalls, and highlights of investigating a specific topic, and the importance of ‘good science practice’.
Lecture 1: The scientific method and the Study of Animal Behaviour. Field and Lab methods: strengths and weaknesses of each. What do you do when you study behavior in practice? A case study from the real world.
Lecture 2: The study of animal behavior in relation to the phenomenon of domestication-> theories in relation to changes to behavior and hormones. Experimental programs testing these hypotheses. How do we get from a hypotheses to results… pitfalls and highlights.
Lecture 3: Wolves and dogs as a study model to investigate ‘domestication’. The socio-ecology of wolves and dogs-> knowing your species (in the wild) to formulate hypotheses. The case of ‘pet’ dogs vs. ‘free-ranging dogs’. The Wolf Science Centre (WSC) and why it exists. Captive/Lab studies on wolf-dog difference in conspecific interaction: cooperation, tolerance, conflict management and prosociality.
Lecture 4: depending a bit on how far we get above and student interest… Continuation of Wolf Science Centre studies focused on how wolves and dogs behaviour towards humans, and or differences in their approach to their environment