Quantitative and Methods in Animal Behavior
Location: La Selva Research Station, Costa Rica
Dates: April 8-12, 2020
Application deadline: March 10, 2020
Scholarships may be available for students.
For more information: https://tropicalstudies.org/course/quantitative-and-computational-methods-in-animal-behavior/
Overview: 21st Century Field Biology – Quantitative Tools Meet Traditional Behavioral Ecology – The way we study animal behavior in the field is changing. What was once a primarily observational and data-poor discipline is rapidly becoming a highly-quantitative field of study through technological advances. In particular, the ability to use consumer-grade camera equipment to record animal behavior and then capitalize on the rapid advances in computer vision and tracking techniques means field experiments can now bridge the gap between the rigor of the lab and the authenticity of the field. The course will guide you through this modern take on field behavioral ecology, leading you through the scientific process from observation, hypothesis generation, experimental design, analysis, interpretation, and communication of your own field biological experiments, specifically in the context of social and collective interactions in rainforest animals. There will be a strong theoretical focus on employing machine-vision tracking of animal movement in natural contexts. Students will gain hands-on experience in experimental design, setting up camera and recording equipment, basic coding in Python to convert video into suitable formats, and be given an introduction into machine learning and animal tracking which they will implement to automatically track animal groups.