This course is about understanding why organisms evolve to act the way they do.  In it we focus on social behaviors, and on understanding conflict and cooperation.  How do genetically distinct individuals cooperate while still favoring their own interests?  We take an evolutionary approach, not a mechanistic one, though the mechanistic material is available in the Alcock textbook in unused chapters.  We study the evolution of aggression, mating behavior, parental care, communication, and the complexities of living in groups and families.  We will learn how natural selection operates on individuals in a social context. We study less material in more depth, with many videos.  This class is a lot of work, a lot of fun, and you will never look at an animal in the same way. We will be using OWL-Space extensively.

Students who complete this course successfully are eligible to take Animal Behavior Laboratory, Bios 317, or Bird Field Biology, Bios 337, in Spring. You are also eligible to produce an animal behavior video for use by others learning about behavior through Bios 306. You may also consider research in the Strassmann/Queller labs, or ask for advice on research in other labs with an evolutionary focus in both EEB and BCB. We also recommend summer study at biological stations like the excellent University of Michigan Biological Station.