Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Animal Behavior

Figure from experiment 11 from Advanced Biology with Vernier


Perhaps one of the most difficult fields of biology to study is ethology, the study of animal behavior. Observation of a behavior is simple; interpreting what has been observed requires more effort; therefore, more than any other division of research in biology, ethology calls for patience, objectivity, and imagination.

In every ecosystem, organisms are influenced by limiting factors—biotic or abiotic factors which regulate the maximum size of a given population—and a relatively narrow range of environmental conditions which are favorable to them and their offspring. Since most organisms cannot change the nature of their environment, they must position themselves in an environment with favorable conditions. This behavior is called habitat selection.

Many organisms exhibit a tactic response to these environmental factors. Tactic responses may be positive, toward a favorable environment, or negative, away from an unfavorable environment. These tactic responses enable an organism to locate prey, avoid predation, seek shelter, or avoid a toxic environment—all vital to habitat selection.


In this experiment, you will

  • Observe and note general behavior characteristics of pillbugs.
  • Hypothesize as to whether pillbugs have adapted to perceive and react to certain environmental changes.
  • Design an experiment to determine how pillbugs respond to environmental changes.
  • Examine similarities and differences between male and female Drosophila.
  • Observe courtship and mating rituals between male and female Drosophila as an example of a strict behavioral pattern.
  • Hypothesize as to whether fruit flies respond to certain environmental changes.

Sensors and Equipment

No probeware required for this experiment.

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Advanced Biology with Vernier »

Advanced Biology with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

1ADiffusion through Membranes
2AEnzyme Action: Testing Catalase Activity
2BEnzyme Action: Testing Catalase Activity
3Mitosis & Meiosis
4APlant Pigment Chromatography
5ACell Respiration (CO2 and O2)
5BCell Respiration (CO2)
5CCell Respiration (O2)
5DCell Respiration (Pressure)
6ApGLO™ Bacterial Transformation
6BAnalysis of Precut Lambda DNA
6BForensic DNA Fingerprinting
7Genetics of Drosophila
8Population Genetics and Evolution
10ABlood Pressure as a Vital Sign
10BHeart Rate and Physical Fitness
11Animal Behavior
12ADissolved Oxygen in Water
12BPrimary Productivity
13The Visible Spectra of Plant Pigments
14Determination of Chlorophyll in Olive Oil
15Enzyme Analysis using Tyrosinase
16Introduction to Neurotransmitters using AChE
17Macromolecules: Experiments with Protein

Experiment 11 from Advanced Biology with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Advanced Biology with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

Go to top