GREENBERG (2021) Ethologically Informed Design and DEEP Ethology…

Greenberg, N.  (in press 2021)  Ethologically Informed Design and DEEP Ethology in Theory and Practice. In: Health and Welfare of Captive Reptiles, 2nd Edition. C. Warwick, P.C. Arena, G.M. Burghardt, F.L. Frye, and J.B. Murphy (Editors) Cham, Switzerland: Springer.


Abstract The quality of our relationships with other species, as predators, prey, companions, and subjects of curiosity or research, profits from our being ethologically informed. This chapter explores several dimensions of these relationships along with comments on the importance of an ethological attitude and ethologically informed design in pursuit of a better understanding of how best to behave as responsible stewards of other species. Design, in the sense of a coherent program that guides our practice, involves identifying and defining the traits that appear important to us, as well as the ways in which we manipulate, observe, measure, and interpret them. Design both guides and is guided by the questions or problems we wish to address. To be ethologically informed, a design implicitly acknowledges four key biological perspectives, identified in the earliest conceptual beginnings of ethology. Each perspective reflects different temporal and spatial orientations and levels of organisation, but all are profoundly involved in the causation of behaviour; they are: developmental, ecological, evolutionary, and physiological (DEEP). This integrative biology in concert with an ethological attitude, emphasising freedom from implicit bias, are valuable approaches to all forms of captive animal management as well as research design. Such an approach will reveal connections within and between our subjects and ourselves that are of both great intrinsic interest and generalisable utility in solving problems that we all share.


Keywords: Reptile, Ethology, Research Design, Experimental Design, Stress, Physiology, Welfare, Captive Care, Animal Models