Penn State

Margret I. Hatch - associate professor of biology, Penn State Worthington Scranton Campus

Book Title: Evolutionary Behavioral Ecology

Author: David Westneat and Charles Fox

Book Description:

Ever since I volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation center as a high school senior I wanted to study wildlife. Then, as an undergraduate I took a course in behavioral ecology and was absolutely amazed to learn how natural selection as a mechanism of evolutionary change shapes the behavior of wild animals, ultimately resulting in populations adapted to their environment. Sometimes these behaviors are counter-intuitive, such as altruism, but there is always an explanation of how they increase individual fitness. I love studying the behavior of wild animals, particularly birds, and deriving evolutionary explanations for these behaviors. I especially enjoy behavioral ecology, which examines behavior in terms of fitness trade-offs. Moreover, one of the editors of this book, Dr. David Westneat, was my Ph.D. advisor and remains a good friend. While all of my advisors (B.S.: Dr. David Anderson, M.S.: Dr. Peter Arcese) were important in shaping my career as an ornithologist and behavioral ecologist, Dr. Westneat was especially influential in developing my deep interest in behavioral ecology while challenging me to do the best science possible. I sincerely hope this book is influential in generating interest in evolution and behavioral ecology.


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