Matching Items (40)

136429-Thumbnail Image.png

The effects of urbanization and human disturbance on problem solving in juvenile house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus)

Description

Urbanization exposes wildlife to many unfamiliar environmental conditions, including the presence of novel structures and food sources. Adapting to or thriving within such anthropogenic modifications may involve cognitive skills, whereby

Urbanization exposes wildlife to many unfamiliar environmental conditions, including the presence of novel structures and food sources. Adapting to or thriving within such anthropogenic modifications may involve cognitive skills, whereby animals come to solve novel problems while navigating, foraging, etc. The increased presence of humans in urban areas is an additional environmental challenge that may potentially impact cognitive performance in wildlife. To date, there has been little experimental investigation into how human disturbance affects problem solving in animals from urban and rural areas. Urban animals may show superior cognitive performance in the face of human disturbance, due to familiarity with benign human presence, or rural animals may show greater cognitive performance in response to the heightened stress of unfamiliar human presence. Here, I studied the relationship between human disturbance, urbanization, and the ability to solve a novel foraging problem in wild-caught juvenile house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus). This songbird is a successful urban dweller and native to the deserts of the southwestern United States. In captivity, finches captured from both urban and rural populations were presented with a novel foraging task (sliding a lid covering their typical food dish) and then exposed to regular periods of high or low human disturbance over several weeks before they were again presented with the task. I found that rural birds exposed to frequent human disturbance showed reduced task performance compared to human-disturbed urban finches. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that acclimation to human presence protects urban birds from reduced cognition, unlike rural birds. Some behaviors related to solving the problem (e.g. pecking at and eying the dish) also differed between urban and rural finches, possibly indicating that urban birds were less neophobic and more exploratory than rural ones. However, these results were unclear. Overall, these findings suggest that urbanization and acclimation to human presence can strongly predict avian response to novelty and cognitive challenges.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

134141-Thumbnail Image.png

Modern Zoos and Animal Welfare

Description

The truth about animal husbandry is not being explained properly to those who visit zoos, or, more importantly, to those who vehemently oppose zoos and animal captivity. Currently, the quality

The truth about animal husbandry is not being explained properly to those who visit zoos, or, more importantly, to those who vehemently oppose zoos and animal captivity. Currently, the quality of modern zoos is communicated from within the zoo, where most animal rights activists would never step foot. I have researched the current influence of animal welfare on the practice of behavioral husbandry in modern institutions. In order to bring benefits of behavioral research to the debate on animal welfare, I have also observed two tigers at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona. The reality is that modern zoos are dedicated to improving the quality of life in captivity for rescued animals and to providing education and genetic diversity for their species. Accreditation standards are constantly evolving with discovery and criticism from professionals in the field of animal husbandry and behavior. Even tigers at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park display minimal stereotypic behaviors compared to other studies of captive tigers, and both of these cats also participate in healthy play and environmental enrichment use. Current advancements in animal welfare, enrichment, and animal husbandry project an excellent outlook for the zoological facilities of the future.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12

133962-Thumbnail Image.png

Reducing Fear in Canine Veterinary Appointments Through Fear Free Tactics

Description

In recent years, many strides have been taken to analyze dog (Canis lupus familiaris) fear behavior. Studies have found that in a veterinary setting, low posture behaviors in dogs are

In recent years, many strides have been taken to analyze dog (Canis lupus familiaris) fear behavior. Studies have found that in a veterinary setting, low posture behaviors in dogs are indicative of fear in the animal (Ortolani and Olh, 2014; Stanford, 1981). Other studies found that short term environmental stress can be measured through repetitive behaviors that are paired with high levels of urinary and salivary cortisol (Hiby et al., 2006; Hekma et al., 2012). In order to reduce these commonly seen fear behaviors, veterinarians can purchase the Fear Free Certification program that focuses on an animal's emotional well-being in a veterinary appointment. This study sought to quantify the differences in fear behaviors during veterinary appointments at a traditional veterinary hospital and a Fear Free certified veterinary hospital. The results show that there is a significant decrease in total head and tail fear behaviors at the Fear Free Certified hospital which suggests that the Fear Free certification does make a difference in a dog's emotional well-being at a veterinary appointment. This is important for the future of veterinary medicine to maintain happy clients and a safer work environment.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

134051-Thumbnail Image.png

Analysis of Economic Demand for Nicotine Using an Abbreviated Behavioral Economic Protocol in Rats

Description

Nicotine addiction remains a prevalent public health issue, and the FDA has released a statement outlining the systematic reduction of nicotine to non-zero levels in the coming years. Current research

Nicotine addiction remains a prevalent public health issue, and the FDA has released a statement outlining the systematic reduction of nicotine to non-zero levels in the coming years. Current research has not yet established the effects of abrupt nicotine dose reduction on vulnerability to relapse, nor has abrupt nicotine dose reduction been evaluated in terms of behavioral economic characteristics of demand and elasticity been evaluated for reduced doses of nicotine. Using a rat model, we first evaluated the comparability of between- and within-session protocols for establishing characteristics of demand and elasticity for nicotine to shorten experimental timelines for this study and future studies. We then tested environmental enrichment and sex as factors of elasticity of demand for nicotine. Using a rat model of relapse to cues, we also examined the effects of nicotine dose-reduction on vulnerability to relapse. We found differences in maximum consumption and demand between the between- and within-session protocols, as well as sex differences in elasticity of demand on the within-session protocol where male demand was more elastic than female demand. Additionally, we found that enrichment significantly increased elasticity of demand for nicotine for both males and females. Finally, preliminary analyses revealed that nicotine dose reduction yields more inelastic demand and higher maximum consumption, and these outcomes predict increased time to extinction of the association between nicotine and contingent cues, and increased rates of relapse. These studies highlight the usefulness and validity of within-session protocols, and also illustrate the necessity for rigorous testing of forced dose reduction on nicotine vulnerability.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12

135879-Thumbnail Image.png

To what degree can bees identify visual patterns that differ in spatial frequency?

Description

This study illustrates the abilities of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, to learn and differentiate between patterns solely off their spatial frequencies. Patterns were chosen based off of calculations derived from

This study illustrates the abilities of the honeybee, Apis mellifera, to learn and differentiate between patterns solely off their spatial frequencies. Patterns were chosen based off of calculations derived from the measurements of the physical construction of the apposition compound eye, which led to predictions of what the bees could theoretically see. The hypothesis was then that bees would have a visual threshold where patterns with spatial frequencies that fall below this line should be easily distinguishable, and patterns above the threshold would have scores that mimic if the bees made choices randomly. There were 9 patterns tested, all with different spatial frequencies and in the colors of black, white, and gray. The bees were tested on their learning and pattern differentiation abilities with 10 pattern comparisons, with the lower frequency of the two being associated with an unscented sucrose solution reward. The results were surprising in that the previous studies pointing towards this visual threshold were inaccurate because of some of the patterns being learning in an intermediate ability. These intermediate scores suggest that the calculations predicting what the bees could see clearly were slightly wrong because it was more likely that the bees saw those images in more of a blur, which resulted in their intermediate score. Honeybees have served as a useful model organisms over the decades with studying learning involving visual information. This study lacked in its total numbers of trials and bees tested, which could have led to incomplete results, and this showing of an intermediate score and ability. Future studies should continue in order to advance this understanding of a perceptually and cognitively advance processing animal.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12

133645-Thumbnail Image.png

A Comparison and Contrast of Animal Psychology in the Wild vs. the Human Dominated World

Description

Animal psychology is the study of how animals interact with one another, their environment, and with humans. This can be done in two different settings, the wild and captivity, and

Animal psychology is the study of how animals interact with one another, their environment, and with humans. This can be done in two different settings, the wild and captivity, and through two different approaches, academic research and practice. Academic research relies primarily on behavioral observation for data collection. Practice uses behavioral observation as well, but allows for a more hands on experience and lets the practitioner make improvements in the quality of life. I interviewed two people, one who practices in captivity, and one who does research in the wild. Dr. David Bunn has done research on wild animals in Kruger National Park in South Africa for over twenty years, studying human-animal interactions. Hilda Tresz has worked in zoos nearly forty years and specializes in chimps. Working within the same field, but utilizing a different setting and approach makes a big difference in the feel of the job. Though I found many differences between the two by doing my own research and from conducting interviews, there are many similarities to note as well. The general field of animal psychology is very rewarding, requires a lot of patience, and leads to a better understanding of animal behavior and how to care for specific species of animals. Working with captive animals allows for the opportunity to make a big difference in animal's lives through behavioral enrichment and general care. Working in the wild allows us to understand the innate animal behaviors displayed. Through practice, people get more hands on experience; while through research, you get to observe animals in their native habitats. Each setting and approach has it's own benefits depending on what each person's goals are for their job.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

131355-Thumbnail Image.png

Method Comparison for Odor Discrimination in Camponotus floridanus

Description

Complex animal societies consist of a plethora of interactions between members. To successfully thrive they must be able to recognize members and their kin, and to understand how they do

Complex animal societies consist of a plethora of interactions between members. To successfully thrive they must be able to recognize members and their kin, and to understand how they do this we need sufficient and reliable methods of testing. Eusocial insects are especially good at recognizing their nestmates, but the exact mechanism or how well they can discriminate is unknown. Ants achieve nestmate recognition by identifying varying proportions of cuticular hydrocarbons. Previous studies have shown ants can be trained to discriminate between pairs of hydrocarbons. This study aims to compare two methodologies previously shown to demonstrate odor learning to identify which one is the most promising to use for future odor learning experiments. The two methods tested were adapted from Sharma et al. (2015) and Guerrieri and d’Ettorre (2010). The results showed that the Guerrieri method demonstrated learning better and was more reliable and faster than the Sharma method. The Guerrieri method should be used in future experiments regarding odor learning discrimination

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

137151-Thumbnail Image.png

Social Network Dynamics of Female Chacma Baboons

Description

Social structure is the product of the costs and benefits of group living. Dyadic social bonds in female chacma baboons are strong and long-standing, conferring fitness benefits upon both individuals

Social structure is the product of the costs and benefits of group living. Dyadic social bonds in female chacma baboons are strong and long-standing, conferring fitness benefits upon both individuals while contributing to a greater social structure. Longitudinal grooming data collected from 2001-2007 from Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana, illuminate social network dynamics of 50 female chacma baboons. Utilizing social network analysis (SNA), we analyzed social structure above the level of the dyad to see if attribute data (age, rank, and number of close female kin) was predictive of network location. Our SNA data was longitudinal, unbalanced, and continuous. We therefore used linear mixed-effects models (LMEs) and respective AIC/BIC values to choose the most likely predictive attributes for each SNA metric. From the chosen LMEs, rank was present most often. High rank predicted a higher frequency of outward grooming, an overall lower number of grooming partners, and a less extensive social network. It appears that high-ranking females have a fewer number of social bonds than low-ranking females, but that they are stronger. Considering that enduring social bonds result in increased offspring longevity, future studies include examining the potential adaptive value of weak, transient, more numerous social bonds.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

134789-Thumbnail Image.png

Is the Click the Trick? Examining the Efficacy of Clickers and Other Reinforcement Methods in Training Naïve Dogs to Perform New Tasks

Description

A handheld metal cricket noisemaker known as a "clicker" is often used in dog training to teach dogs new behaviors; however, evidence for the superior efficacy of clickers as opposed

A handheld metal cricket noisemaker known as a "clicker" is often used in dog training to teach dogs new behaviors; however, evidence for the superior efficacy of clickers as opposed to providing solely primary reinforcement or other secondary reinforcers in the acquisition of novel behavior in dogs is almost entirely anecdotal. We sought to determine under what circumstances a clicker may result in acquisition of a novel behavior to a higher level when compared to other potential reinforcement methods. In Experiment 1, three groups of 30 dogs each were trained to emit a novel sit and stay behavior with either the delivery of food alone, a verbal marker with food, or a clicker and food. The group that received only a primary reinforcer reached a significantly higher criterion of training than the group trained with a verbal secondary reinforcer. Performance of the group experiencing a clicker secondary reinforcer was intermediate between the other two groups, but not significantly different from either. In Experiment 2, three different groups of 25 dogs each were shaped to emit a nose targeting behavior and then perform that behavior at increasing distances from the experimenter using the same three methods of positive reinforcement used in Experiment 1. No statistically significant differences between the groups were found. Overall, the findings suggest that both clickers and other forms of positive reinforcement can be used successfully in training a dog to perform a novel behavior.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

Integrated Clinical Animal Behavior

Integrated Clinical Animal Behavior

Description

In this paper, I outline the drawbacks with the two main behavioral approaches to animal behavior problems and argue that each alone is insufficient to underpin a field of clinical

In this paper, I outline the drawbacks with the two main behavioral approaches to animal behavior problems and argue that each alone is insufficient to underpin a field of clinical animal behavior. Applied ethology offers an interest in an animal’s spontaneous behavior in natural contexts, understood within an ecological and evolutionary context, but lacks an awareness of mechanisms that can be manipulated to modify the behavior of individual animals. Behaviorism in the form of Applied Behavior Analysis offers a toolkit of techniques for modifying the behavior of individual animals, but has seldom been applied to non-human species, and often overlooks phylogenetic aspects of behavior. Notwithstanding the historical animosities between the two fields of animal behavior they are philosophically highly compatible – both being empiricist schools stemming ultimately from Darwin’s insights. Though each individually is incomplete, I argue that an integrated approach that synthesizes the strengths of each holds great promise in helping the many animals who need our assistance to survive and thrive in human-dominated environments.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2021-02-05