Fall 2022

Animal Behavior W/Lab

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-281

Moodle site: Course


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


Shaped by millions of years of evolution, 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.

In Fall 2022, the laboratory will be 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.

If Overenrolled: First preference to senior majors, then seniors in related disciplines, then junior majors, etc.


2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022