Background and Definition
Behavioral ecology studies ecological dynamics that drive behavioral adaptations within evolutionary context. This approach was developed from research of ethologists, such as Lorenz and Tinbergen (Krebs and Davies 1997). Lorenz and Tinbergen examined animal behavior in their natural environment in which the focus of the research was determining the function and fruition of the behaviors. Another contributor to the development of behavioral ecology was the field of sociobiology (Wilson 1975). Sociobiology “is a field of study in which principles of population biology and evolutionary theory are applied to social organizations” (Olmstead and Kuhlmeier 2015, p. 17). Behavioral ecology emerged from research within ethology and sociobiology. Questions in the field of behavioral ecology initially explored were related to predictions of survival and reproductive success. More specifically, how is the behavior traditionally used and does it increase survival?...
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