Field Studies Of Animal Behavior

A 10-day Course for Students, Teachers, Museum Docents, Wildlife Professionals, and Nature Enthusiasts
July 15 - 25, 2009
Sponsored by: The Southwestern Research Station Of The American Museum of Natural History. Located in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona.
Instructor: Dr. Howard Topoff, Professor Emeritus of Biopsychology, The City University of New York.

According to Conservation International, the sky islands of southern Arizona (which include the Chiricahua Mountains) contain some of the richest reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth. It is this outstanding biodiversity that attracts scientists (and their students) from all over the world. During this intensive field course, we will focus on the behavior of a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species. Our studies will include:

1. The Adaptability Of Behavior - color and odor preferences in the selection of nectar sources by hummingbirds.
2. Population Dynamics - the size of territory in harvester ants as a function of colony density.
3. Communication - the evolution of visual displays in lizards of the genus Sceloporus.
4. Social Behavior - orientation and communication in slave-making ants.
5. Mating Behavior - The role of auditory signals in mating behavior of spadefoot toads.
6. A survey of bats of the Chiricahua Mountains.

The course will include a daily multimedia lecture. Although most of the course will be devoted to class projects, we often are able to participate in research being conducted by scientists at the Research Station. We also attend evening seminars given by Station scientists.

The course is limited to 15 participants. At the end of the course, the Southwestern Research Station will issue a Certificate of Completion. The cost of the course is $950. This includes room and 3 meals for 10 days ($600), and tuition ($350). For additional information about the course including a biography of the instructor, please see the course web site at:


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