Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #43

Behavioral Interference Between Species

Saturday, May 26, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: PCH; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Darlene E. Crone-Todd, Ph.D.
Chair: Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State University)
GREG GRETHER (University of California, Los Angeles)
Gregory F. Grether, Ph.D., is a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society. He completed his Ph.D. at UC Davis in 1995, moved to UC Santa Barbara with a NSF postdoctoral fellowship in 1996, and moved farther south to join the UCLA faculty in 1999. His field research has taken him farther south still, mostly to tropical rainforests. Although his first taxonomic interest was primates, he was influenced at a critical stage in graduate school by Krogh's principle, "For many problems there is an animal on which it can be most conveniently studied." Over the years, Greg and his students have studied a diverse assortment of animals, including insects, arachnids, fish, salamanders, lizards, birds and mammals. The common thread through all the projects is the role of behavior in ecological and evolutionary processes. He believes in the importance of studying the behavior of animals in their natural habitats, and many of his projects include field-based analogs of experiments that are traditionally carried out in the laboratory. He has also made novel contributions to evolutionary theory, most notably the theories of genetic compensation and agonistic character displacement.

Aggression and reproductive interference are forms of behavioral interference that occur commonly between closely related species. Such between-species interactions can, and in most cases probably do, arise as a byproduct of activities that are part of the normal lives of animals, such as defending resources and attracting mates. However, the ecological and evolutionary consequences of behavioral interference between species can be quite distinct from the effects of the corresponding within-species interactions. Behavioral interference can determine whether species are able to coexist, and if they do coexist, how they evolve subsequently in response to each other through natural selection. Behavioral interference was probably part of human evolution, and could help explain why we are the only extant species in the genus Homo, but this talk will focus on what we know, with greater certainty, about the role of behavioral interference in the ecology and evolution of other animals. If behavioral interference is a costly interaction at the population level, why does it persist? In what ways, and to what extent, does behavioral interference affect the geographic ranges of species? How does behavioral interference affect the spread of invasive species, or the fate of endangered species? What is the evidence that behavioral interference has evolutionary consequences? I will use examples from the literature, as well as from my own research, to answer these and other questions, while striving to present a balanced perspective on the subject.

Target Audience:

Anyone with an interest in the behavior of wild animals. No prior knowledge of the subject will be assumed.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe examples of behavioral interference between species; (2) explain how aggression and reproductive interference can influence whether species coexist; (3) articulate the basic theories of reproductive and agonistic character displacement; (4) discuss the types of empirical evidence available for ecological and evolutionary effects of behavioral interference.



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