Review sheet 1                         Biology 4900 – Behavior          James Adams and Kristen Sanders

Behavior definition (pages 8 – 11)

Function of DNA:  DNA à RNA à proteins
            Why do we need to know the function of DNA for this class? Because the proteins that are made in turn influence not only structure and function on the cellular level, but ultimately determine the actual behavior of organisms (instincts), or the ability to learn various behaviors, including the level of complexity that can be learned. How?

What do proteins do in the body that could influence behavior?

Structural proteins for framework of organism/organs, receptors, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes for metabolic processes, etc.

In other words, DNA can help determine behavior, and therefore is under selection (pages 5 – 7). As such, you would expect organisms to exhibit behaviors that maintain/increase fitness. 

What is fitness, and what are the components of fitness? (we’ll review)

So you can expect as we go through the course that we will be emphasizing behaviors that strongly influence fitness:

1.  finding and processing food
2.  attracting mates
3.  avoiding predators

We will, of course, discuss numerous other types of behavior as well, but the above will be a recurring theme.

Components of behavior:

1.       Genetics – proteins.  Behavior that is completely genetic is called instinct/innate behavior (in animals).

2.       Environmental -- Experience, practice, learning

a.       ability to gain knowledge from experience tied to genetics – for instance, complexity of nervous system framework in animals in turn helps them with learning

b.       long term potentiation; receptor up-regulation and down-regulation

3.       Physiological state – drives (hunger, thirst, sex)

Simplest behaviors: those that virtually all organisms exhibit – directed movement in relation to stimuli

Taxes (singular taxis): Positive and negative

1.       Phototaxis – heliotaxis, astrotaxis

2.       Chemotaxis

3.       Phonotaxis

4.       Hydrotaxis

5.       Anemotaxis

6.       Geotaxis

7.       Thermotaxis

Behavior in non-animals
        Your book is called "Animal Behavior". When behavior courses are taught, prokaryotes, simple eukaryotes, fungi and plants are almost always left out of the discussion. There is at least one example discussed in your text book with amoebae (Box 12.3, page 463), so the authors don't ENTIRELY ignore these other groups. We are going to discuss at least a FEW examples from these groups.