Sampling Behavior & Social Behavior

Sampling Behavior & Social Behavior

Focal animal, or continuous sampling

• Watch 1 animal (or subgroup), and record all of its activities
for a pre-determined period of time
• Must be able to identify individuals
• Useful for observing both states and events
• Best way to observe interactions
• Unbiased record of behavior

Instantaneous or scan sampling

• Watch 1 animal or a group of animals, and record what the animal(s) is doing at pre-set intervals
• Don’t necessarily need to be able to identify individuals
• Useful for observing states only
• Can monitor large groups

What are some benefits to living in a social group?


Options for year-old males that are unable to find mates

Primary helpers– bring fish to their mothers and siblings and attack predatory nest enemies like snakes 
Secondary helpers– help unrelated nesting pairs and go on to breed next year 
Delayers– wait around, don’t use up valuable energy to help to rear anyone else’s offspring, breed next year





Humbolt penguins by Colby Stopa is licensed by CC BY 2.0

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