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Last modified: Thursday, July 21, 2011

Behavior 2011 to draw global contingent of more than 1,100 animal researchers to IU next week

July 21, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Behavior 2011, the first-ever joint meeting of the International Ethological Conference (IEC) and the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), is expected to draw more than 1,100 researchers from around the world for the July 25-30 conference at Indiana University Bloomington.

Included among the speakers will be one of the world's leading experts on dog behavior, Adam Mikloski, head of the Department of Ethology at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. Additional plenary speakers include Frances Champagne of Columbia University in New York City, who specializes in maternal behavior, epigenetics and transgenerational effects, and Hopi Hoekstra, a geneticist and curator of mammals at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

The conference is hosted by IU's Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior (CISAB), a group that brings together biologists, psychologists, anthropologists and others with similar interests. IU biology professor Emília Martins, who is serving as conference president for Behavior 2011, said that while the IEC and ABS have different origins, membership and cultural traditions, they share a professional mission to promote the study of animal behavior in the broadest sense and closer contact among behavioral scientists. CISAB is an interdepartmental center within the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

"Indiana University's Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior hosted a very successful Animal Behavior Society meeting in 2002, so when we were asked to consider hosting the International Ethological Conference we immediately saw it as an opportunity to bring the two groups together," Martins said.

Registration could reach 1,200 participants, and researchers are expected from at least 41 countries. The conference includes nearly 800 research presentations.

Symposia topics include: "Perinatal Influences on Development and Behavior," "Female competition for breeding resources," "Does Social Complexity Influence Communicative Complexity?" "Geographic Variation in Behavior," "The Effects of Sensory Pollution on Animal Behavior and Survival," "Sensory Neuroecology," "What do animal signals mean?" "Convergence of Social Complexity in Mammals and Birds," and "Cognition as Foraging."

The conference begins and ends with activities focused on teaching animal behavior to students of all ages. A pre-conference workshop, "Vision, Change and the Case Studies Approach," begins the six-day gathering with a 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. program on Monday (July 25) to share ideas on effective ways to use animal behavior case studies in the classroom. Jay Labov, a senior advisor at the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council, and Kipp Herreid, founder and director of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, will lead the pre-conference event.

At the conclusion of the conference, Bloomington's Wonderlab Museum will host "Adventures in Animal Behavior: A Real Life Science Festival," on Saturday (July 30) from 1-5 p.m. Organized by IU alumni and supported by scientists attending the conference, the event invites the public to learn about being an ethologist by meeting faculty and graduate students studying animal behavior. A number of activities are also planned, including many with live animals. Topics include "Learn how scientists study frog vocalizations," "See how scientists study fish in the wild," "Explore how animals 'hear' through their bones," and view a release of butterflies tagged for research. The all-ages event has a cost of $3 for museum non-members.

Registration and speaker information for Behavior 2011 can be found here.

For more information about Wonderlab's post-conference "Adventures in Animal Behavior" event, visit the museum calendar here.

For more information or to speak with Martins, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or