Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

Chair: Sue Margulis, PhD

Introduction

The Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation Program combines the rigorous scientific study of Animal Behavior with a values-focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition. It is for students who want to thoroughly understand the facts and theoretical underpinnings of animal behavior and who want to use that understanding to promote animal welfare and wildlife conservation. For a more detailed description of the program, faculty, facilities, academic and co-curricular opportunities please go to the ABEC website.

Qualifications

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation.

Advisement

All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Major advisors are normally assigned in the sophomore year, but may be requested in the freshman year to supplement a student's freshman advisor (their GRIF 101 facilitator). Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Dual Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a dual major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a dual major it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.

Minors

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests, but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum.

Free Electives

Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum or Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.

Major Requirements

The ABEC major requires 7 courses, plus a total of 24 additional credits from elective courses:

ABEC 101Introductory Animal Behavior I3
ABEC 102Introductory Animal Behavior II3
BIO 111
111L
Introductory Biology I
and Introductory Biology Laboratory I
4
BIO 112
112L
Introductory Biology II
and Introductory Biology Laboratory II
4
Select one of the following:3-4
Conservation Biology
Conservation Behavior
Conservation Psychology & Environmental Education
Select one of the following math courses:3-4
Statistics for Social Sciences
Inferential Statistics and Computers for Science
Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences
PHI 245Animal Ethics3
Total Credits23-25

Major Electives

Twenty four credits must derive from the following electives:

ABEC 220
220L
Animal Learning
and Animal Learning Lab
4
ABEC 250Zoo Animal Husbandry1
ABEC 251Zoo Animal Management3
ABEC 301Research Participation1
ABEC 305Assessing Animals1
ABEC 332Animal Welfare3
ABEC 333Conservation Behavior3
ABEC 334Conservation Psychology3
ABEC 335
335L
Conservation Education
and Conservation Education Lab
4
ABEC 337
337L
Conservation Psychology & Environmental Education
and Conservation Psychology & Environmental Education Lab
4
ABEC 338
338L
Recreational Ecology
and Recreational Ecology Lab
4
ABEC 339Animal Enrichment3
ABEC 340
340L
Research Methods in Animal Behavior
and Research Methods in Animal Behavior Lab
4
ABEC 341Urban Ecology3
ABEC 342Animal Geographies3
ABEC 351Zoo Exhibitry1
ABEC 360Observational Research Methods4
ABEC 363Canine Evolution, Behavior and Cognition3
ABEC 370Animal Cognition3
ABEC 404Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in South Africa3
ABEC 490Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation (credit may vary)4
ABEC 491Internship 13
ABEC 492Internship 23
ABEC 495Independent Research3
BIO 301Research Methods (credit)1
BIO 312Primatology3
BIO 316Social Organization of Mammals3
BIO 317Sex, Evolution and Behavior3
BIO 320Field Ecology4
BIO 322Conservation Biology3
BIO 325Reproductive Biopsychology3
BIO 343Entomology4
BIO 355Behavioral Neuroscience3
BIO 365Vertebrate Zoology and Ecology4
BIO 366Ornithology4
or BIO 166 Biology of Birds
BIO 375Community Ecology3
BIO 377Freshwater Biology4
BIO 378Wetlands3

Major Experiences

Many elective courses involve travel, field work, and/or service. The department also offers numerous internship opportunities. Students are encouraged to participate in these experiences.

Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements:

Freshman
FallSpring
ABEC 101ABEC 102
BIO 111
111L
BIO 112
112L
Sophomore
FallSpring
BIO 316 (ABEC elective)BIO 317 (ABEC elective)
Math course (choose one of the following)PHI 245
 
 
 
Junior
FallSpring
ABEC electiveABEC elective
ABEC electiveABEC elective
 Conservation course
Senior
FallSpring
ABEC electiveABEC elective

Learning Goals & Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Students will demonstrate factual knowledge and theoretical understanding in the field of animal behavior.

Students will:

Objective A: Demonstrate mastery of topics: animal phylogeny-taxonomy, evolution of behavior, and anthropogenic impacts on non-human animals and the environment

Objective B: Articulate the controversial nature-nurture (instinct vs. learning) dichotomy

Objective C: Identify ways to recognize cognitive processes in non-human animals

Objective D: Separate observations from inferences

Student Learning Goal 2

Students will demonstrate practical knowledge and appropriate application of animal behavior and conservation in two of the following settings: domestic animals, captive wildlife, free-ranging wildlife

Students will:

Objective A: Generate realistic and effective solutions to simulated behavior problems in captive or domestic animals;

Objective B: Generate realistic and effective solutions to simulated conservation
problems

Objective C: Critically evaluate ethical implications of use or management of non-human
animals

Student Learning Goal 3

Students will demonstrate scientific literacy and communication about
science in written or oral form

Students will:

Objective A: Critically evaluate primary literature

Objective B: Interpret data

Objective C: Clearly articulate scientific ideas, concepts, and controversies

The ABEC program offers three minors for students who wish to concentrate in specific areas:

For all minors, courses may be taken independently of the others and in any order. Interested students usually begin with the course that best fits their schedule. Most of the courses are offered every other year, so interested students should plan accordingly.

ABEC 101 Introductory Animal Behavior I 3 Credits

First semester of a two-semester sequence that covers behavior across a wide range of species. Similarities and contrasts allow deductions regarding mechanisms and evolution.

Offered: every fall.

ABEC 102 Introductory Animal Behavior II 3 Credits

Second semester of a two-semester sequence that covers behavior across a wide range of species. Similarities and contrasts allow deductions regarding mechanisms and evolution.

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 220 Animal Learning 3 Credits

Animal learning and memory research with emphasis on practical animal training. Lab required.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 220L.

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 220L Animal Learning Lab 1 Credit

Required animal learning lab that emphasizes practical animal training.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 220.

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 250 Zoo Animal Husbandry 1 Credit

Topics in animal husbandry in the zoo setting. Focus is on the specific needs of different taxonomic groups, environmental management, veterinary monitoring, nutrition, and programming.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: Spring of odd-numbered years.

ABEC 251 Zoo Animal Management 3 Credits

Modern practices in zoo mission implementation. Focus on managing many facets of zoos: individual animals, populations of animals, visitors, research, education, staff, and budgets. The course is highly project-based and involves considerable group work and participation.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 301 Research Participation 1 Credit

Recognition for ABEC research assistants. Can be taken up to 3 times for major elective credit; more than three times credit is free-elective.

Restriction: permission of instructor.

Offered: every semester.

ABEC 305 Assessing Animals 1 Credit

Assessing Animals will focus on applied behavioral analysis of non-human animals through various methodologies including functional assessments. Students will learn how to use such assessments to achieve behavioral goals through problem solving strategies for non-human animals. Occasional (1-2) weekend days may be required.

Offered: every fall.

ABEC 330 Animals, Public Policy, and the Law 3 Credits

This course provides an overview of both law and public policy as they impact modern societies views and treatment of non-human animals. Students will explore American and other national legal systems, as well as several different senses of the term 'public policy' in connection with companion animals, wildlife, research animals, and food animals.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Fulfills College Core: Justice

Offered: every fall.

ABEC 332 Animal Welfare 3 Credits

The scientific study of assessing the welfare of captive animals. Use of quantitative research to improve welfare.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Fulfills College Core: Advanced Writing-Intensive

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 333 Conservation Behavior 3 Credits

How human activity has altered the planet and how those modifications affect the behavior of animals. Review of key principles through the lens of Behavioral Ecology in regards to species requirements for survival, major threats to species existence, and conservation solutions to reduce those threats. Identification of positive human behavior for conservation outcomes.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: every fall.

ABEC 334 Conservation Psychology 3 Credits

Conservation psychology is an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses upon people's relationships with animals and the natural world. Conservation psychology is ultimately concerned with improving the quality of those relationships for the benefit of human and non-human beings as well as natural systems. In this course, students will explore the theoretical foundations of conservation pyschology, including ecological approaches to human development, cognition, morality, sociality, emotion and behavior. Students will also learn about and practice various methods for studying human-animal-nature relationships. By the end of this course, students will be able to apply these theories and practices towards the constructive criticism of various conservation projects, policies, and interventions.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: most fall semesters.

ABEC 335 Conservation Education 3 Credits

Applying the theories and principles of conservation pyschology to education in informal settings (zoos, aquariums, wildlife refuge). Assessing attitude and behavioral outcomes of conservatin education programs.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 335L. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: most fall semesters.

ABEC 335L Conservation Education Lab 1 Credit

Required weekly lab for Conservation Education (ABEC 335).

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 335. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: most fall semesters.

ABEC 336 Child Animal Studies 3 Credits

This course considers how animals play distinct roles in child development, children's cultures, and even in the social construction of 'childhood.' It draws upon psychology, ethology, ethics, cultural studies, education, and anthropology.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: spring of odd-numbered years.

ABEC 337 Conservation Psychology & Environmental Education 3 Credits

The theoretical foundations of conservation psychology, including ecological approaches to human development, cognition, morality, sociality, emotion, and behavior. Assessing attitude and behavioral outcomes of conservation education programs.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 337L. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: occasionally in fall.

ABEC 337L Conservation Psychology & Environmental Education Lab 1 Credit

Required weekly lab for Conservation Psychology & Environmental Education.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 337. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: occasionally in fall.

ABEC 338 Recreational Ecology 3 Credits

Environmental consequences of outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism activities and their management. History and current state of outdoor recreation, including the policies that have shaped management of natural areas. Positive effects recreation through increased conservation support and stewardship and how both can be managed for coexistence.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: fall of odd-numbered years.

ABEC 338L Recreational Ecology Lab 1 Credit

Weekly lab for Recreational Ecology (ABEC 338).

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 338.

Offered: fall of odd-numbered years.

ABEC 339 Animal Enrichment 3 Credits

This course emphasizes the roll of enrichment in various contexts (laboratory, shelter, and zoo). Multiple opportunities to design and implement enrichment are provided. The course uses the S-P-I-D-E-R framework for enrichment design and effectiveness.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: spring of even-numbered years.

ABEC 340 Research Methods in Animal Behavior 3 Credits

Observational and experimental research methods commonly used in studies of wild, captive, and domesticated animals. Evaluate peer-reviewed journal articles, research questions and hypotheses, collect behavioral data in observational and experimental contexts, and analyze and interpret data.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101, ABEC 102, & one of the following: MAT 131, MAT 141, or PSY 202. Corequisite: ABEC 340L. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Fulfills College Core: Advanced Writing-Intensive

Offered: every fall.

ABEC 340L Research Methods in Animal Behavior Lab 1 Credit

Required weekly lab for Research Methods in Animal Behavior (ABEC 340).

Prerequisites: ABEC 101, ABEC 102, & one of the following: MAT 131, MAT 141, or PSY 201. Corequisite: ABEC 340. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: every fall.

ABEC 341 Urban Ecology 3 Credits

Critical examination of animal life in close association with humans in urban environments.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: fall of even-numbered years.

ABEC 341L Urban Ecology Lab 1 Credit

Weekly lab for Urban Ecology (ABEC 341).

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Corequisite: ABEC 341.

Offered: fall of even-numbered years.

ABEC 342 Animal Geographies 3 Credits

Study of the entanglings of human-animal relations with space, place, location, environment and landscape.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: spring of even-numbered years.

ABEC 351 Zoo Exhibitry 1 Credit

Critical evaluation of zoo design principles. Involves travel to obtain first-hand study of distant zoological institutions.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: annually.

ABEC 360 Observational Research Methods 4 Credits

Study of the principal procedures used in animal behavior research. Involves the conduct of independent research project, from formulation of hypothesis through to presentation of results. Statistical analysis of data is a key component of the class, and students are expected to have completed their statistics requirement.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101, ABEC 102, & one of the following: MAT 131, MAT 141, or PSY 203. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Fulfills College Core: Advanced Writing-Intensive

Offered: spring of odd-numbered years.

ABEC 363 Canine Evolution, Behavior and Cognition 3 Credits

Introduction to the latest theories regarding how dogs evolved and were domesticated; how dogs communicate with humans and with each other, exposure to ground-breaking research into dog behavior, learning, cooperation, and cognition.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 370 Animal Cognition 3 Credits

The mental lives of nonhuman animals. Topics include basic processes (perception, attention), physical cognition (tool use, time and numbers) and social cognition (social domesticated animals. Evaluate peer-reviewed journal articles, research questions and hypotheses, collect behavioral data in observational and experimental contexts, and analyze and interpret data.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: juniors and seniors only.

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 404 Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in South Africa 3 Credits

Field experience in South Africa, emphasizing field methods for animal observation, and applicability to conservation. This course involves early application (previous fall), travel during summer, and additional fee.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: seniors only and permission of instructor.

Fulfills College Core: Core Capstone

Offered: every fall.

ABEC 419 Anthrozoology 3 Credits

An engagement with the fundamental issues of the field of Anthrozoology by evaluating the history of human/ nonhuman interactions, the categories into which human have sorted animals, and a variety of science-based and value-based approaches to humans' inevitable intersection with other living beings.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: seniors only.

Fulfills College Core: Core Capstone

Offered: every spring.

ABEC 490 Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation 4 Credits

Field study of endangered species and ecology, followed by educational outreach to school and public audiences.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

Offered: every semester.

ABEC 491 Internship 1 3 Credits

Internship in animal-related setting. Joint supervision by faculty and agency personnel. Application of classroom lessons to real-world situations. Students should register for the section most closely related to the intership activities. Section A is Anthrozoology, Section B is Animal Behavior, Secion C is Conservation, and Section Z is Zoo Biology.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

ABEC 492 Internship 2 3 Credits

Internship in animal-related setting. Joint supervision by faculty and agency personnel. Application of classroom lessons to real-world situations. Students should register for the section most closely related to the intership activities. Section A is Anthrozoology, Section B is Animal Behavior, Secion C is Conservation, and Section Z is Zoo Biology.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102.

ABEC 495 Independent Research 3 Credits

Independent project conducted under the supervision of a faculty member.

Prerequisites: ABEC 101 & ABEC 102. Restriction: permission of instructor.