E.3.1 Distinguish between innate and learned behaviour.

 

Discuss how learning to juggle fits the criteria for learning.

E.3.2 Design experiments to investigate innate behaviour in invertebrates.

First some definitions of Kinesis and Taxis behaviour.

Designing an Experiment:

 

 

Kinesis and Taxis Experiments:

Example: Woodlouse Class: Crustacea

Order: Isopoda

Oniscus (Woodlouse)

 

Applying the design criteria:

Design: Aspect 1

Focused Research:

E.g. Woodlice tend to choose moist humid conditions as they are terrestrial crustaceans without a water proof exoskeleton.

'Woodlice will choose humid condition in preference to dry conditions.'

Variables:

Control variables

 

Design: Aspect 2

The method need to set up the independent variable, measure the dependent variable and control the other variables which may affect this experiment.

The classic method used in such behaviour experiments involves choice chambers. Often constructed from modified petri dishes these can be quickly set up and provide a reasonable method. The two most common design include two chambers connected by a passage way or the 2, 4 split to a single chamber. Each method has its own merits and short falls which can be reviewed in the evaluation.

 

choice chamber

 

 (In actual trials of this experiment the breadth of the platform becomes an issue and when too small the animals fail to locate it in their random movement.)

Alternative choice chambers:

Further considerations:

Design: Aspect 2 Sufficient data:

The reliability of the data: which means repeating the choice process on a number of occasion and trying to keep those occasions as similar as possible. Also the number in each trial should be large enough to be representative, so perhaps 10-20 on each side, but the number must be equal.


The accuracy of the data: The unit of counting is the whole woodlouse so there’s not much of an issue. The woodlouse will either be ‘count’ statistic in the dry or humid area. However this will change if you use a different type of choice chamber.

 

E.3.3 Analyse data from invertebrate behaviour experiments in terms of the effect on chances of survival and reproduction.

Data Analysis (data processing): should be made consistent with the standards for IA. Again this syllabus statement is nothing new, just apply the same standards that you used in your PSOW. Once more a criteria grid is provided for some guidance:

data cllection and processing criteria

The hypothesis for the experiment is either looking for a difference or a relationship between the two sets of data:

Conclusions when made must be consistent with the data analysis.

E.3.4 Discuss how the process of learning can improve the chance of survival.

Innate behaviour is unchanging and unresponsive to environmental change. An organism relying on innate behaviour requires many generations of selection to change, which has little consequence for the immediate generation of animals.

If an animal has a nervous system that can allow it to change or modify behaviour it will have a survival advantage over less flexible animals.

 

E.3.5 Outline Pavlov's experiments into conditioning of dogs.

Pavlov was a Russian Physiologist carrying out experiments on digestion.

Breaking down the experiment

pavlov conditioning

 

In practice the conditioning stimuli (CS) cannot always be arbitrary and there may be restrictions on the possible types of conditioning stimuli. The range of possible conditioning stimuli may well be reflected or be limited by those to be found in the animals natural environment.

Laboratory experiments on behaviour must be treated with some care as they may not represent changes that are possible within the natural environment of the animal.

E.3.6 Outline the role of inheritance and learning in the development of birdsong in young birds.

Quote: Learning permits the immediate satisfaction of communicative needs without recourse to the tedious process of selection over several generations (Lemon & Hertzog 1969, The vocal behaviour of the cardinals and pyrrhuloxias in Texas, Condor, 71 (1): 1-15

Male birds use song as a means of communication whether singing to attract the attention of females or signaling their territorial boundaries. Bird song has been studied to determine the role of genetics (inheritance) and the environment (learning) in the development of this important communication method by birds.

The study of bird song has a long history but was greatly advanced with the introduction of the sound spectrograph. The sonograms produced allow analysis of song such that the following conclusions might be drawn:

 

Example: White crown sparrow ( Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Distribution: North America

Adult song begins around 200-250 days after hatching

Song is a plaintive whistle followed by some trills in the range of 3-4 Kilo hertz

Dialect: The song is subject to local (geographic) variations

Song begins with an innate species specific template song which is then modified to the adult song through experiences.

 

 

The White crown sparrow song has an innate component and a learned component the advantage of which is:

More detailed analysis:

white crown analysis

 

(a)The newly hatched bird is  capable of a crude version of the adult song called the ‘template’.If another species of bird sings at this stage the hatchling rejects this song being so different to the ‘template’ inherited song. Here is the influence of the innate behaviour which reject modification of 'other species' songs.

(b) There is critical period in which exposure to the white sparrow adult song initiates a ‘listening period’ in which the young does not sing but listens to the adult song. This demonstrates the learned behaviour as this period allows the fledgling to modify its song to the local dialect. This provides the bird with a level of flexibility in its behaviour.

(c) The young bird starts with the template song and listens to the adults singing. This listening period is a learning period in which the bird modifies the template to the sub song. 

d) The young bird now begins to sing the sub song which is now fine tuned to match that of adult birds in the same location.

In summary:

Click4Biology: E3 Innate and learned behaviour

E3 Innate and learned behaviour

E.3.1 Distinguish between innate and learned behaviour.

E.3.2 Design experiments to investigate innate behaviour in invertebrates.

E.3.3 Analyse data from invertebrate behaviour experiments in terms of the effect on chances of survival and reproduction.

E.3.4 Discuss how the process of learning can improve the chance of survival.

E.3.5 Outline Pavlov's experiments into conditioning of dogs.

E.3.6 Outline the role of inheritance and learning in the development of birdsong in young birds.