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From super flies to chimps, international animal behaviour conference at U of T next week

Baby gorilla rides on mother's back. A conference at U of T Scarborough next week looks at research into all kinds of animal behaviour (photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo via Flickr)

Are you fan of Animal Planet? Can't get enough of the Discovery Channel?

More than 750 experts in animal behaviour from across the globe – leading researchers from North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe – gather at U of T Scarborough next week for a conference that probes all aspects of why animals do what they do.

The 54th annual conference of the Animal Behavior Society, will be hosted June 12 to 16 by Professor Maydianne Andrade and Professor Andrew Mason of the department of biological sciences.

“Our larger goal is to put U of T Scarborough on the map for animal behaviour,” says Andrade.

The breadth of high-profile researchers attending and presenting at the conference has attracted significant media attention from science journalists. The Discovery Channel will be on campus all week doing interviews, among other TV and radio outlets.

The Animal Behavior Society has ensured that students will also get the rare opportunity to hear from world-class scientists, offering a reduced registration fee to graduate students and a special program for undergraduates.

About 60 elementary school students are invited to the “Adventures in Animal Behaviour” outreach fair on Monday, and there are 100 tickets to the animal behaviour film festival on Tuesday evening reserved for students and the public (priced at just $5).

The Animal Behavior Society, founded in 1964, promotes the study of animal behaviour in the broadest sense. Members’ research areas span the invertebrates and vertebrates, both in the field and the lab, and include experimental psychology, behavioral ecology, neuroscience, zoology, biology, applied ethology, human ethology as well as many other specialized areas.