Before I arrived yesterday, they held a public outreach day and apparently the human habituated wolves they brought onto the U Colorado campus were a big hit. Continuing the canine theme this morning, the plenary was on 'Why we love dogs' - discussing various behaviors dogs and their owners use to maintain their bonds. After the Plenary and coffee (sort of, only decaf was left by the time I got through the line), I spent most of the morning in the predation session. The primary talks of interest to me was one on ontogeny of newly hatched spiderlings, and one on resource patch decision making by slime molds. The spider study (on a central american Pholcid species it turns out) demonstrated that the newly hatched spiderlings could respond appropriately with differing levels of attack intensity to differing prey (Drosophila vs. a local ant species), and that this flexibility was not the result of learning from previous experience (Escalante). The slime mold talk (Reid) mentioned previous work that showed slime mold could find the minimum distance through a maze between two food sources through a type of 'distributed processing.' Another talk of interest described a study of chunking and the limits of memory used by caching squirrels (Jacobs). The ABS tweeters have settled on #2013ABS as several other groups have been using ABS2013.
My favorite tweet of the morning was certainly this one:
Animal behavior studies are rarely comparative. Need to gather data, store and make it available. Phylogenies are needed too! #2013ABSThe phylogenies have gotten better and more comprehensive, but the gathering and sharing of comparative data still has a long way to go.
— Daniel Caetano (@darkymoss) July 29, 2013