Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Glossary of Science

The following is the glossary I put together for my students from my lecture notes for the first section of Animal Behavior.

Adaptive- conferring a positive fitness relative to competing traits, in the current environment

Altruistic- costly to the individual behaving but beneficial to some other individual or group

Behavior- What an animal does, generally in response to an external or internal stimulus.

Behavioral Ecology- The study of behavior in relation to its adaptive value in environmental context.

Cryptic Female Choice- Female behavior, morphology, and/or physiology influencing which of the males a female has mated with end up being the genetic father of the female's eventual offspring.

Direct Fitness: The number of descendant individuals produced by an individual, times the degree of relatedness of those descendants to that individual.

Evolution: Change in the genetic makeup of a population over time.

Fitness- reproductive success

'Good Genes' Polygyny- System in which females choose among mates based on an honest signal of male quality, rather than for any resources, care or territory the male has to offer.

Hamilton's equation: rB-C>0 where r is the relatedness between the individual who acts and the individual who benefits from that action, B is the benefit in direct fitness to the recipient and C is the cost in direct fitness to the actor.

Heritable- more similar between related individuals than between unrelated individuals.

Inclusive Fitness: Direct fitness plus indirect fitness

Indirect Fitness: The number of non-descendant relatives produced by an individual, times the degree of relatedness of those relatives to that individual.

Kin Recognition: The ability to, or act of, classifying some individuals as related to oneself, and others as unrelated to oneself.

Kin Selection- non-random differential reproductive success arising from heritable variability in traits which affect the direct fitness of an individual's kin, rather than of the individual itself.

Lek Polygyny- Mating system in which males gather to display for females and females examine the males and mate with those which are most impressive.

Levels of analysis- The different ways we can attempt to explain the same behavior, including its adaptive value, it phylogeneitc background, the organismal mechanisms underlying it and the developmental and genetic factors leading to it.

Mating Strategy- everything an individual does to determine when how and with whom it mates, and to ensure that mating produces offspring.

Mating System- a description of how the species tends to mate, and which males mate with wich females under what circumstances. Female Defense Polygyny, Polyandry and Monogamy are examples of mating systems.

Monogamy: In biology, one male mating with one female. Monogamy can be social (the pair act as though they only mate with each other) and/or genetic (the pair actually parent all of each other's offspring)

Polyandry- Mating system in which one female mates with multiple males.

Polygamy- mating system in which an individual mates with multiple individuals of the opposite sex. Includes polyandry and polygyny.

Polygyny- mating system in which one male mates with multiple females.

r- stands for relatedness. Defined as the portion of two individual's genotypes which are identical because of common ancestry.

Reproductive Strategy- anything and everything an individual does that functions to allow it to reproduce. This includes its production of gametes, how and when and with whom it mates, parental care and so on.

Selection- non-random differential reproductive success arising from heritable variability

Selective Pressure- environmental factor(s) that determine adaptive value of different traits

Sexual Selection- non-random differential reproductive success arising from heritable variability in traits directly affecting sexual reproduction

Sociality- the tendency to live in groups of conspecifics

Sperm competition- "competition between sperm of two or more males for the fertilization of an ova" (Parker 1970).

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