BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY: A TOOL TO UNDERSTANDING PLANT-ANIMAL INTERACTIONS.
Keywords:Behavioral ecology, ethology, biodiversity, Cerrado, Brazilian Savanna
AbstractExperimental manipulation and description of behavioral repertoires are just two examples of many different tools used in behavioral ecology to increase the knowledge about plant-animal interactions. Behavioral ecology allows us to evaluate how one behavior can maximize individual fitness and also makes it possible to quantify variations within populations. Behavioral ecology also allows for testing
the adaptive value of the behaviors exhibited by distinct members in a food web, providing insights to many aspects of a given community. In this sense, ethological methods associated with modern or traditional
techniques in botany, zoology, genetics and computational analysis can be employed in solving ecological questions, many of which are related to consequences of plant-animal interactions. Thus, the ethological tools used in behavioral ecology can help us understand plant-animal interactions in nature, including the ethological roles of species, types of interactions and their results, the structure of the established food web, impacts of selective forces, habitat heterogeneity and geographical variations. We illustrate these
methodologies and also discuss their implications for conservation of interaction biodiversity.