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Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology and Reproduction
The Field Station for the Study of Behavior, Ecology and Reproduction (FSSBER) occupies 29 acres in the hills above the Berkeley Campus.
It was established by faculty from Anthropology, Psychology, Zoology and the College of Natural Resources in the early 1960s to promote the investigation of animal behavior in more natural settings than those provided by traditional laboratory environments.
During FSSBER's first decades, studies of bird-song dialects were carried out by Prof. Peter Marler and his students (Zoology). Prof. William Lidicker (Zoology) explored the nature of population cycles in local California voles. Prof. Starker Leopold of the College of Natural Resources investigated the social behavior of California quail.
Anthropologists, led by Professors Sherwood Washburn and Phyllis Dolhinow, prepared for field studies with various primates in Africa and Asia by first observing the social behavior of Macaques, Baboons and Langurs maintained in semi-natural groups at the FSSBER.
In addition, numerous dissertations within the Department of Anthropology were based on observations of captive primates maintained at the Station. Social behavior, and particularly the hormonal basis of reproductive behavior in dogs, was the focus of a long-running program of research supervised by Dr. Frank Beach (Psychology).
In more recent years, the unusual facilities provided at the FSSBER have permitted studies of mate choice in Cichlid fish, disease vectors in woodrats and pigs, breeding and behavioral observation of endangered /threatened species of native California kangaroo rats and woodrats, and predatory / maternal behavior of rattlesnakes. As this work proceeded, it became apparent that the Station had assumed a broader vision, encompassing biological work that extended beyond behavior per se. Ongoing studies involve observations of interactions between several species of parasitic wasps and gall-forming midges that lay their eggs on a native California plant, Baccharis pilularis. This research combines basic ecological studies, with potential application to the biological control of insect pests by parasitoids.
In addition, since 1985, a comprehensive study of the development of morphology and behavior in Spotted Hyenas has drawn the attention of faculty and graduate students from the Departments of Psychology and Integrative Biology on the Berkeley Campus. The existence of a large colony of these fascinating carnivores, has resulted in collaborative research with faculty and students from other UC Campuses (UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA and UCSF), as well as with biomedical researchers at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas, and NYU Medical School. Archeologists from New York, Texas and France have also observed the details of bone-consumption by our hyenas, in an attempt to distinguish between assemblages deposited eons ago by hyenas, or by our tool-using ancestors
The facilities of the FSSBER are available for research by students and faculty of the University of California.
Several buildings provide offices and a veterinary clinic for Investigators and Animal Care Personnel.
3210 Tolman Berkeley, CA 94720 - 1650