A study of behavior in the deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus rubidus Osgood during its 24-hour cycle of activity in a simulated natural habitat Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xg94ht504

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  • With a growing emphasis on details of behavior comes an increasing need for knowledge of natural behavior patterns. Studies on the life history of Peromyscus maniculatus have long been available in the literature. More recently, investigators have turned to analyzing the behavior of some of the subspecies of P.m. in the laboratory. Field studies using the techniques of ecological research are normally not suited to discover the behavior patterns of individual animals. The present study is an attempt to explore some methods by which life history data may be supplemented with specific information of interest to investigators conducting laboratory studies. It was the expressed objective of the writer to describe and record the voluntary activity of P.m. rubidus kept within simulated natural habitats. The study encompasses certain environmental conditions which are thought to influence behavior. Several of these features are: the ecological conditions where the mice were collected, the dimensions of the simulated natural habitats, the presence of cover and refuges, and the day-night cycle. Specific topics addressed were the distribution of the peaks of activity throughout the 24-hr cycles, the separation of activity observed into meaningful elements of behavior, the design of a method by which behavior of the deer mice might be described and quantified, and the search for behavioral patterns as indicated by changes from one specific activity to another. The deer mice were collected from a large blackberry patch and from along the Willamette River in Eugene, Oregon, as well as from a woodland near Corvallis, Oregon. The mice, in pairs, were observed in both a large and a small simulated natural habitat, the Area and the Cage, respectively. The Area was 30 feet in diameter, while the Cage measured three by three feet. The mice were kept in one of the enclosures until a complete 24-hr cycle of observation had been finished. This normally took five days. P. m. rubidus is nocturnal, and the method of illumination used during this study is discussed. Definite and periodic fluctuations in the levels of activity were found. Forty distinct activities, elements of behavior, were found to be sufficient for describing the observed behavior. It should be noted that only spontaneous activities were recorded and that no attempt was made to observe behavior taking place in the nests. From this study the writer feels that it is possible to fully describe and record the spontaneous behavior of these mice when observed under simulated natural conditions. Through this record a method has been developed by which behavior can be reconstructed or compared between individuals of P. m. rubidus studied under similar conditions.
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  • File scanned at 300 ppi using Capture Perfect 3.0 on a Canon DR-9050C in PDF format. CVista PdfCompressor 5.0 was used for pdf compression and textual OCR.
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