Introduction to Behavior -- Biology 4900         Faculty Index Page
                                                    James K Adams,

This is the first time this course is being offered, so be aware that you are our "guinea pig" class! We intend on making this a fun learning experience for all, including us! 

Syllabus: Fall 2021

Exam and Project Due Dates

Review Sheets

     Test 1:
         Review sheet 1
         Review sheet 2 -- plant movement (by Hussein Mohamed)
         Review sheet 3 -- various invertebrate phyla
         Review sheet 4 -- mollusks (by John Lugthart)
         Review sheet 5 -- non-insect arthropods
         Review sheet 6 -- insects
     Test 2:
         Review sheet 7 -- fish
         Review sheet 8 -- amphibians
         Review sheet 9 -- reptiles
         Review sheet 10 -- birds 1
         Review sheet 11 -- birds 2

Projectable images/videos for lecture:
        Non-animal behavior:
            Slime mold, Dictyostelium discoideum -- from                     Genetic analysis of phototaxis in Dictyostelium by Paul R. Fisher
            Plant movements:  Dr. Hussein Mohamed's Powerpoint is available on Georgia View, under Content: Guest
                Sensitive fern --
                Carnivorous plants:
                    Venus fly trap catching yellow jackets --

                    Sundew --
         Invertebrate behavior:
             Porifera -- filter feeding, reproduction
             Cnidaria -- anemone responses, jellyfish blooms/reproduction
                 Ctenophora -- comb jelly bioluminescence/feeding
             Platyhelminthes -- sensation/feeding
             Nematoda -- parasitic types
             Annelida -- marine polychaete types, fan/tube worm images, Bobbit worm feeding
                 Onycophora -- prey capture; image from La Selva, Costa Rica, March, 1985
             Echinodermata -- movement/prey capture, sea cucumber behavior
             Chordates -- salp behavior (free living tunicates)
        Molluscs: John Lugthart's Powerpoint is available on Georgia View, under Content: Guest Presentations
                 Octopus paper
                 Snail paper
                 Newest understanding of arthropod relationships
             Non-insect arthropod videos/images
                Chelicerata videos: Pycnogonids (sea spiders)
                        Horseshoe crab spawning and egg-laying
                        Spider web spinning
                        Jumping spider (Peacock spider) predator avoidance, mating
                        Larval questing in Ticks
                        Scorpion prey capture (and ultraviolet glow) . . . AND the importance of hairs
                        Camel spider (Solifugidae) versus Millipede
                Myriapod videos
                        Millipede versus Camel Spider (see above)
                        Millipede cyanide defense
                        Prehistoric millipede image
                        Centipede versus Grasshopper mouse
                Crustacea videos
                        Snapping (Pistol) Shrimp
                        Mantis "Shrimp" (Stomatopoda) with hermit crab
                        Filter feeding in barnacles
                        Isopod (marine)
            Insect videos/images:   
                        Coloration, chemical defense, and deception  
                        Vertebrate - Insect interactions:  Coloration -- crypsis, aposematism, mimicry
                                A mantis turns the tables
                        Insect - Insect interactions:  phoresy, predation, parasitism (parasitoids)
                        Plant - Insect interactions:  Pollination
                                Darwin's predicted hawkmoth
                                Deceived bees/wasps
                                Rafflesia image
                        Parnassius sphragis image
                        Heliconius charitonia butterflies roosting

Vertebrate Behavior:
    Fish -- Rachel Thayer's Powerpoint is available on Georgia View, under Content: Guest Presentations
    Amphibian videos/images
              Caecilians -- maternal care
              Giant Chinese Salamander
              Hellbender (from National Geographic)
              Siren (from Animal Diversity Web)
              Great Crested Newt (from The Conversation)
              Amplexus in Green Tree Frogs (from Fredlyfish4)
              Poison Dart Frogs
              African Grey Tree Frog foam nest
              Mouth/Gastric brooding frogs
              Cane Toad
              Gliding Tree Frog video           
    Reptiles -- Daniel Gaillard's Powerpoint is available on Georgia View, under Content: Guest Presentations
    Birds -- Our Powerpoint, with SIGNIFICANT help from David DesRochers, is available on Georgia View,
                    under Content: Guest Presentations
              Egg Coloration effects in bluebirds  by Bloo Mitchell

Honeybee Dance Test

    Invertebrate case study -- list of invertebrate phyla -- Due August 30
    Pet Project
    Final Project, with presentation --
            Friday, 10/15- deadline to pick species or species group
                   1.  first come, first served
                   2.  no more than one student per FAMILY of animals
            Monday, 11/1 – Monday, 11/15
                   1.  meet with Dr. Adams AND Prof. Sanders with a draft of your presentation
                   2.  when you meet with us, you will get to pick your presentation date/slot
                   3.  again, first come, first served
            Monday, 11/22 (3 presentations), Monday, 11/29 (3 presentations), Wednesday, 12/1 (12:30-2:30 PM)
                   (remaining presentations)

DESCRIPTION OF THE COURSE: This course covers behavior, presented in a taxonomic format. We will first look briefly at behavior in non-animals (prokaryotes, "protists", fungi, plants), and then continue with a discussion of invertebrates, with particular emphasis on insects. From there we will continue our discussion in vertebrates, with particular emphasis on mammals, especially rodents and primates. During all of our discussions, we will emphasize the importance of evolution in shaping the behavior of all the organisms we discuss, which means we will focus on behaviors that significantly increase fitness: finding and getting food, finding mates, avoiding predation, and the like.  Needless to say, there will be a large number of examples of interesting behavior presented. We intend to use a number of videos, and examples from personal experience. 

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Provide examples of evolutionarily important behavior from a wide variety of organisms.
  2. Understand how the production of proteins from DNA in turn is intimately tied to the evolution of behavior.
  3. Explain how, even among quite unrelated organisms, certain similar behaviors occur over and over again in a variety of organisms, because of the importance of the behaviors to the fitness of the organisms.


This is the first time this course has been taught, and as such, we will be learning TOGETHER how to best present the material in the course. You will have readings from the book, but we don't know precisely what those are yet as we have not finished preparing all of our lectures. We will provide you with review sheets and outlines, in which we will include the readings. However, these handouts may vary widely in detail as we will be having many guest lectures. Therefore, taking good notes will also be very important to your success, though we will likely record the lectures and make them available to you so that you will have access to all of the information multiple times. And, as is always the case, if you have a question, ASK!!

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