Welcome to Behavioral Ecology
Behavioral ecology as a field sprang from the desire to explain the bizarre behaviors of beasts and to understand the natural history around us. Traditionally, Behavioral Ecology has emphasized the adaptive value and explanations for animal behavior. The goal of this course is to teach you to think critically and analytically about explanations for natural phenomena rather than simply adopt the Just-so-Story approach. In particular, we'll examine hypotheses (and evidence for and against them) explaining a range of behavioral phenomena from foraging decisions to parental care to antipredator mechanisms to sociality. The emphasis here is on evolutionary understanding, so we will draw on a variety of tools from genetics, evolution, mathematics, ecology, economics.
Syllabus (download pdf)
Lecture and Reading Schedule (pdf)
UVAcollab (where you can access pdfs of the required readings and pdfs of other course materials)