Courses & Curriculum

The Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation major (ABEC) program of study combines lectures with hands-on learning experiences in both required and elective courses. The offerings are broad ranging so that the student has the opportunity to sample widely in the discipline, or to concentrate thoroughly in specific areas of interest. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects and internships that will allow them to relate their coursework lessons to real world situations.  

Major Requirements - 15 courses:

BIO 111 
BIO 112
MAT 141
ABEC 215 
BIO 322
PHI 245
RST 229
Introductory Biology 1
Introductory Biology 2
Inferential Statistics (or PSY201 Behavioral Statistics)
Introduction to Animal Behavior
Conservation Biology
Animal Ethics
Religious Perspectives on Animals


Plus any eight from the following:

ABEC 218
ABEC 220
ABEC 251
ABEC 330
ABEC 332
ABEC 335
ABEC 339
ABEC 340
ABEC 350
ABEC 360 ABEC 363
ABEC 370
ABEC 404
ABEC 419
ABEC 490
ABEC 491
ABEC 492
ABEC 495
BIO 110
BIO 166
(or)
BIO 366
BIO 312
BIO 316
BIO 317
BIO 320
BIO 325
BIO 343
BIO 355
BIO 365
BIO 371
BIO 375
ENG 285
PHI 348

Applied Animal Behavior
Animal Learning
Zoo Animal Management
Animals, Public Policy, & the Law
Animal Welfare 
Conservation Education
Animal Enrichment
Research Methods in Animal Behavior
Zoo Biology
Observational Research Methods
Canine Evolution, Behavior and Cognition
Animal Cognition
Wildlife Ecology & Conservation in South Africa
Anthrozoology
Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation
Internship 1
Internship 2
Research Seminar
Zoo Nutrition
Biology of Birds 
(or)
Ornithology
Primatology
Social Organization of Mammals
Sex, Evolution and Behavior
Field Ecology
Reproductive Biopsychology
Entomology
Behavioral Neuroscience
Vertebrate Zoology
Behavioral Ecology
Community Ecology
Writing and Animal Studies
Environmental Ethics


The ABEC major offers broad training on topics related to the nature of animals, their behavioral ecology, and mankind’s relationship to them. It is designed for students who wish to engage in a rigorous course of study in behavioral biology, while critically examining 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 the other species with which we share the planet.  

This background serves as solid preparation for:  

  1. Graduate studies in animal behavior and conservation biology
  2. Zoo based employment 
  3. Animal training 
  4. University animal welfare compliance
  5. Companion animal evaluation and welfare 
  6. Animal advocacy (wildlife conservation)

The program of study combines lectures with hands-on learning experiences in both its required and elective courses. The courses are broad ranging so that the student has the opportunity to sample widely in the discipline, or to concentrate thoroughly in specific areas of interest. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research projects and internships that will allow them to relate their coursework to real world situations.  

Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation Curriculum

1. Core Curriculum Requirements: 
View the Core Curriculum requirements.  All students complete these requirements as part of their overall Canisius education.

2 . ABEC Major:  15 courses

A:  Required Courses (7 courses):    
BIO 111 Introductory Biology 1   4 credits
BIO 112 Introductory Biology 2   4 credits
MAT 141 Inferential Statistics (or PSY201 Behavioral Statistics)   3 credits
ABEC 215 Introduction to Animal Behavior   3 credits
BIO 322 Conservation Biology   3 credits
PHI 245 Animal Ethics   3 credits
RST 229 Religious Perspectives on Animals   3 credits
     
B:  Major Electives (any 8 courses from the following list)
ABEC 218 Applied Animal Behavior   3 credits
ABEC 220 Animal Learning   3 credits
ABEC 251 Zoo Animal Management   3 credits
ABEC 330 Animals, Public Policy, & the Law   3 credits
ABEC 332 Animal Welfare    3 credits
ABEC 335 Conservation Education   4 credits
ABEC 339 Animal Enrichment   3 credit
ABEC 340 Research Methods in Animal Behavior   4 credits
ABEC 350 Zoo Biology   4 credits
ABEC 360 Observational Research Methods   4 credits
ABEC 363 Canine Evolution, Behavior and Cognition   3 credits
ABEC 370 Animal Cognition   3 credits
ABEC 404 Wildlife Ecology & Conservation in South Africa   3 credits
ABEC 419 Anthrozoology   3 credits
ABEC 490 Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation   3 credits
ABEC 491 Internship 1   3 credits
ABEC 492 Internship 2   3 credits
ABEC 495 Research Seminar   3 credits
BIO 110 Zoo Nutrition   3 credits
BIO 166 Biology of Birds (or BIO366 Ornithology)   3-4 credits
BIO 312 Primatology   3 credits
BIO 316 Social Organization of Mammals   4 credits
BIO 317 Sex, Evolution and Behavior   3 credits
BIO 320 Field Ecology   4 credits
BIO 325 Reproductive Biopsychology   3 credits
BIO 343 Entomology   3 credits
BIO 355 Behavioral Neuroscience   3 credits
BIO 365 Vertebrate Zoology   4 credits
BIO 371 Behavioral Ecology   3 credits
BIO 375 Community Ecology   4 credits
ENG 285 Writing and Animal Studies: 
Representations in Film and Literature
  3 credits
PHI 348 Environmental Ethics   3 credits

3.  Free electives:
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not fewer than 120 credit hours. 

COURSES:  2011-2013

BIO 111  Introductory Biology 1      4 credits
Intra- and inter-specific interactions between organisms, interactions between organisms and their environment, and mechanisms of evolutionary change and speciation.  (Lab required)

BIO 112  Introductory Biology 2         4 credits
Introduction to principles governing biological processes at the organismal level in plants and animals. Function of organisms is stressed. (Lab required)

MAT 141  Inferential Statistics (or PSY201 Behavioral Statistics)  3 credits
Descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing and inferential statistics.  

ABEC 215 Introduction to Animal Behavior  3 credits
Behavior across a wide range of species. Similarities and contrasts allow deductions regarding mechanisms and evolution. 

BIO 322  Conservation Biology          3 credits
Study of the plight of endangered species, the biological consequences of fragmented populations, and scientific bases of habitat/species restoration.

PHI 245  Animal Ethics               3 credits
The philosophical principals underlying concerns for animal welfare/animal rights. Application to real-world examples is stressed.  

RST 229  Religious Perspectives on Animals       3 credits
Comparative survey of mankind’s religious perspectives on other species.  

ABEC 218  Applied Animal Behavior      3 credits
Application of scientific knowledge about animal behavior in problem solving related to human management of companion animals and zoo animals. Application to veterinary and conservation related conditions included.  

ABEC 220  Animal Learning with lab      4 credits
Animal learning and memory research with emphasis on practical animal training.  (Lab required)

ABEC 251 Zoo Animal Management     3 credits
Modern practices in zoo mission implementation.  

ABEC 330 Animals, Public Policy, and the Law      3 credits
The study of how laws and public policy encompass the interests of animals, and the ways in which we humans deal with other being.  

ABEC 332 Animal Welfare      3 credits
The scientific study of assessing the welfare of captive animals. Use of quantitate research to improve welfare.

ABEC 335 Conservation Education       4 credits
Applying the theories and principles of conservation psychology to education in informal settings (zoos, aquariums, wildlife refuge). Assessing attitude and behavioral outcomes of conservation education programs. 

ABEC 339 Animal Enrichment       3 credits
Use of enrichment in laboratory, shelter, and zoo environments. Evaluation of enrichment effectiveness. Planning and implementation of enrichment off-site.

ABEC 340 Research Methods in Animal Behavior       4 credits
Observational and experimental research methods commonly used in studies of wild, captive, and domesticated animals. Evaluate peer-reviewed journal articles, research questions and hypotheses, collect behavioral data in observational and experimental contexts, and analyze and interpret data


ABEC 350  Zoo Biology          4 credits
The roles of zoos in conservation, education, and research.  Environmental, genetic, nutritional and behavioral factors in the management of captive animal populations and species survival plans.  

ABEC 360 Observational Research Methods        4 credits
Study of the principal procedures used in animal behavior research.  Each student conducts own project at Buffalo Zoo.  

ABEC 363 Canine Evolution, Behavior and Cognition        3 credits
Introduction to the latest theories regarding how dogs evolved and were domesticated; how dogs communicate with humans and with each other, exposure to ground-breaking research into dog behavior and cognition.

ABEC 370 Animal Cognition        3 credits
The mental lives of nonhuman animals. Topics include basic processes (perception, attention), physical cognition (tool use, time and numbers) and social cognition (social learning, cooperation).


ABEC 404 Wildlife Ecology & Conservation in South Africa        3 credits
Study of primate communities in South African highlands and their relationships with the other organisms with which they share their habitats.  

ABEC 419  Anthrozoology                3 credits
The scientific study of mankind’s relationship with other species.  Themes include companion animals, animal welfare and wildlife conservation.


ABEC 490  Canisius Ambassadors for Conservation          3 credits
Field study of endangered species and ecology, followed by educational outreach to school and public audiences.  

ABEC 491  Internship 1     3 credits
Internship in animal-related setting. Joint supervision by faculty and agency personnel. Application of classroom lessons to real-world situations.  

ABEC 492  Internship 2     3 credits
Advanced internship in animal-related setting. Joint supervision by faculty and agency personnel. Application of classroom lessons to real-world situations.  (completion of ABEC491 required as prerequisite)

ABEC 495  Research Seminar     3 credits
Independent animal-focused research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. 

BIO 110 Animal Nutrition    3 credits
Principles of nutrition as it applies in practice to health, husbandry and reproduction of non-human animals.

BIO 166 Biology of Birds (or BIO366 Ornithology)     3-4 credits
Phylogenetic relationships, ecology, natural history and behavior of birds. World-wide diversity and local species. Field techniques.  

BIO 312 Primatology         3 credits
Phylogeny, taxonomy and behavioral biology of prosimians, monkeys, apes and humans.  

BIO 316  Social Organization of Mammals              4 credits
Behavior and social structure of rodents, felines, canines, cetaceans, elephants, monkeys, apes and humans.  (lab required)

BIO 317  Sex, Evolution and Behavior            3 credits
Reproductive behavior of diverse animal species from an evolutionary perspective. Focus is on how evolutionary accounts explain male-female differences in life style and behavior.  

BIO 320  Field Ecology    4 credits
Introduction to the flora, fauna and physical characteristics of regional ecosystems, with emphasis on field methods and application of ecological theory.  (lab required)

BIO 325  Reproductive Biopsychology  3 credits
Neuro-endocrine mechanisms underlying behavior associated with sex, pregnancy, and parental care. Equal focus on human and non-human behavior.  

BIO 343  Entomology    4 credits
Introduction to the diversity and natural history of insects. With an emphasis on structure, function, evolution and ecology of this group. Laboratory focuses on anatomy, diversity, and classification.


BIO 355  Behavioral Neuroscience   3 credits
Functions of the nervous/endocrine systems in mediating motivation, movement, sensation, ingestion, aggression, emotion, sleep, learning, memory, thought and behavior disorders.  

BIO 365  Vertebrate Zoology    4 credits
The biology of the vertebrates, including anatomy, evolution, ecology, natural history and behavior.  (lab required) 

BIO 371  Behavioral Ecology    3 credits
Animal behavior from an evolutionary perspective, focusing on the influences of evolutionary history and environment on behaviors including foraging, communication, reproduction, and social behavior. 

BIO 375 Community Ecology    4 credits
Examination of how processes in multi-species assemblages affect communities by altering species’ abundances, distributions, composition, and driving long term evolutionary change.


ENG 285 Writing and Animal Studies: Representations in Film and Literature
Review of the important roles that non-human animals play in our literary culture. 

PHI 348  Environmental Ethics    3 credits
Examination of various theories of environmental ethics that threat the issue of what ethical responsibilities human being ought to have in their relationship with the natural world.