Mail Code CS
Adele Simmons Hall 202
Mail Code CS
Adele Simmons Hall 202
Laela Sayigh, associate professor of animal behavior, received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MIT/WHOI) Joint Program, and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Her research focuses on social behavior and communication of cetaceans (whales and dolphins). Her current projects focus on a wide range of species, including blue whales, fin whales, pilot whales, and bottlenose dolphins, and are both applied (e.g., looking at effects of anthropogenic noise on communication) and basic (e.g., looking at call structure and function). Given the challenges of studying species that spend most of their lives underwater, she is involved in research that utilizes new technologies, such as non-invasive tags, to study cetacean communication systems.
This course will explore a selection of the main theoretical ideas and methods of the scientific study of animal behavior. We will explore functional and evolutionary bases of animal behavior, including altruism, social behavior, reproductive behavior, mating systems, parental care, the influence of neural systems on behavior, and animal cognition. We will also focus in detail on animal senses, which we will learn about through reading the new book "An Immense World". Students will also put into practice some of the ways that scientists observe, record and measure behavior in the natural world, through hands on work at the Hampshire farm. Keywords:animal behavior,animal senses,Hampshire farm
An iconic large whale species, the North Atlantic Right Whale, is rapidly approaching extinction, driven largely by climate change as animals are forced to move farther and wider in search of food. In this process, almost all get entangled in ropes, often resulting in slow and agonizing deaths. As a society, we must make immediate choices and decisions about how important it is to us to preserve and protect these majestic animals. Students will work together to devise strategies to raise awareness about right whales with the general public, which in turn should raise pressure to come up with solutions. Students will be evaluated based on their research, teamwork, and creativity in coming up with viable solutions to this biodiversity and animal welfare crisis.Keywaords:animal behavior,animal senses,Hampshire farm
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The traditional view of intelligence ranging from low to high, with humans at the top, has been challenged by research on diverse aspects of animal cognition. Recent studies suggest that cognition takes many different forms in animals and can be very difficult to compare to humans. We will talk about a wide range of animals - including octopuses, crows, dogs, monkeys, apes, dolphins, and whales - from the joint perspectives of cognitive science, animal behavior, and evolutionary biology. We will focus on capacities that have been considered hallmarks of intelligence, such as tool use, mirror self-recognition, innovation, culture, and of course, language. Rather than assessing how human-like these abilities are, we will view these studies with an eye to how each species' intelligence is adapted to its own unique needs. Students will read from the professional scientific literature, and carry out hands-on research projects with animals at the Hampshire Farm. Key Words: behavioral ecology, animal learning, animal consciousness, hands on experiments, farm animals