For our final lab, you will have an opportunity to engage in some animal behavior research yourself! You should find an animal that you can actually observe in your everyday life that illustrates one or more of the concepts we’ve learned about in the course (parental investment theory, sexual selection, exotic mating behavior, etc…) If you cannot observe the mating behavior yourself, you can use the observation of animal behavior as an inspiration to tell us about what may be known about the animal’s habits. In other words, even if you can’t witness mating behavior you can use an animal that interests you. For example, male house cats have been documented practicing infanticide of already present kitten litters when they take over a new territory. The theory is that by doing this, the resident adult females will enter estrus sooner (which improves the mating prospects of the murderous male). Hopefully, you won’t witness such a horrific act, but you could observe your house cat and supplement this observation with research about their mating behavior. Good places to find inspiration include your local parks, zoos, aquariums, and pet stores. For a final product, you should write a 500 word mini-report that includes at least three research references about your topic and you should attempt to take a selfie next to your organism of choice (perhaps looking horrified if you are catching them Inflagrante delicto) You should include the references and selfie in a word document. Happy hunting!
Instructions for writing lab report can be found below.
Useful Content Resources
Lab 7 Report Writing Directions (see rubric below for specific points)
Submit a Word document or .pdf lab report to Canvas that includes an “Introduction”, “Materials and Methods”, “Results”, and “Discussion” sections (minimum of 500 words). Please remember lab reports should be written in paragraph format and with sub-headers for each section,
- Introduce your target species by discussing its normal habitat and some of its typical behaviors, including but not limited to feeding and mating.
- Form a hypothesis about the mating behavior (or behaviors that can be related to mating) that you expect to see from this species in captivity. If you are unsure how to do this here is a short lesson: https://apus.libanswers.com/writing/faq/2371 (Links to an external site.)
Materials and Methods
- Write this section as if someone not in our class must complete this lab/duplicate what you did by solely using your lab report and the instructions you give them. Use paragraph format and past tense.
- Include the location you observed the behavior, how often you visited the location, how long you were in that location, how you observed the behavior, how often you observed the behavior, and other details necessary for someone who is not familiar with this class to duplicate what you did.
- Include a selfie with you and the species you observed.
- Include a graph and a table of the different behaviors you observed and how often they repeated this behavior (ex. ‘Chasing a rival away from territory – 3’)
- Describe the behaviors you observed in paragraph form.
- Was your hypothesis supported or rejected?
- Discuss the behaviors that you observed with regards to the species’ known mating behavior.
- Discuss your results in connection to selected concepts that you learned in class (for example, the parental investment theory and mate selection). If you were not able to observe any direct mating behavior or behaviors that could be related to mating, research their known mating behavior using outside sources and discuss these in connection with concepts from class.