Zoo News

May 04, 2017

Students from Canisius College Highlight Animal Behavior Research at Buffalo Zoo

Students from the Observational Research Methods class at Canisius College showcased their animal behavior research projects at the Buffalo Zoo this Thursday, May 4.

Observational Research Methods is an upper-level elective in the animal behavior, ecology and conservation (ABEC) major at Canisius College. In the course students learn the basic methods of behavioral data collection, and then spend about 10 weeks at the Buffalo Zoo collecting a minimum of 30 hours of observational data. They choose the subjects of their study themselves, pose specific research questions and hypotheses, design the study, collect and analyze the data. The course culminates in a poster session that was held at the Buffalo Zoo.

“The eleven students in this year’s class studied a range of species; all chose mammals ranging from lions to vampire bats,” said Sue Margulis PhD, associate professor and chair of animal behavior, ecology, and conservation. “I always encourage them to think a bit more broadly taxonomically, but the choice is always theirs. The students really take ownership of the projects; as well they should, since this is their authentic, original research.”

The largest program of its kind in the U.S., The Canisius ABEC Program educates students about the science of animal behavior as well as the ethical and moral considerations involved in these fields. The major offers broad training in the nature of animals, their behavior ecology, and mankind’s relationship to them. It is designed for students who wish to engage in a rigorous course on the behavioral biology of animals, and one in which they critically examine issues pertaining to animal welfare and wildlife conservation. A central theme underlying this program is the use of scientific knowledge about animal behavior for the benefit of animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Find out more about the ABEC Program here: www.canisius.edu/academics/programs/animal-behavior-ecology-and-conservation.

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