Fall 2023

Animal Behavior with Lab

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-281


Ethan D. Clotfelter (Sections 01, 01L and 02L)


Shaped by millions of years of selection, animals have evolved myriad abilities to respond to their environment, their potential predators and prey, and members of their own species. This course examines animal behavior from both a mechanistic and a functional perspective. Drawing upon examples from a diverse range of taxa, and using articles from the primary scientific literature, we will discuss topics such as behavioral endocrinology, sexual selection and mating systems, animal communication, and kinship and cooperation. Four classroom hours and three laboratory hours per week; the laboratory projects will require additional time outside of class.

The laboratory is structured as a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE).  The focus will be a semester-long, field-based project on bird behavior in the Wildlife Sanctuary.  Students will be outdoors in the Sanctuary under almost all weather conditions.  Students can register for either laboratory section, both of which will be held at low enrollments to facilitate field research.

Requisite: BIOL 181. Limited to 8 students per lab section. Fall semester. Professor Clotfelter.

How to handle overenrollment: First preference to senior majors, then seniors in related disciplines, then junior majors, etc.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: reading primary literature, in-class written exams and/or individual oral exams, and (during the laboratory) considerable field work in the Amherst College Wildlife Sanctuary.

BIOL 281 - LAB

Section 01L
Tu 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM SCCE B327

Section 02L
Th 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM SCCE B327

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

Section(s) ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
All Principles of Animal Behavior (3rd ed.) Norton, 2014 Dugatkin No required textbook; course will use a reading list of journal articles. Copies of Dugatkin text will be available at the Science Center reference desk. TBD


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2022, Fall 2023