5th International Symposium “Mechanisms of animal behavior”

5th International Symposium „Mechanisms of animal behavior” took place at the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences on 26th May 2017. The Symposium was organized by several institutions based in Wrocław, Warsaw and Cracow:

Department of Reproduction and Clinic of Farm Animals and Department of Immunology, Pathophysiology and Veterinary Preventive Medicine in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Ethological Society, Lower Silesian Chamber of Veterinary Surgeons and Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE) Polska. The Symposium was attended by 149 participants from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and France. The main focus of this edition of the Symposium was laid on the  behavior of the domestic dog. The opening lecture „Main achievements of the classical Polish research on dog behaviour and its causal factors” was delivered by Ewa J. Godzińska from the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS. She presented a brief outline of the history of the Nencki Institute in connexion with its 100th anniversary, and discussed principal scientific achievements of researchers from that Institute that had investigated canine behaviour and its neurobiological mechanisms. She laid a particular stress on the experiments and theoretical ideas of Jerzy Konorski and the members of his research school, including Elżbieta Fonberg, Ewa Kostarczyk, Wacława Ławicka and Danuta Kowalska. She also reported main findings of Piotr Korda, an ethologist from the Nencki Institute who had studied various aspects of bitch maternal behavior. She also discussed briefly main topics investigated by other researchers from the Department of Neurophysiology of the Nencki Institute that had participated systematically or sporadically in the experiments on dog behaviour and neurobiology, and outlined principal achievements of several other Polish scientists working in that domain.  Four other plenary lectures were held by three researchers from Budapest (Hungary). Marta Gácsi (Comparative Ethology Research Group, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest) delivered two lectures entitled, respectively, „Dominance or leadership? An ethological approach to hierarchy in wolves and dogs” and „Attachment/dependence in dogs: the key to explain why dogs are unique”. Two researchers from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Anna Kis and Borbála Turcsán, delivered, respectively, the lectures entitled „The oxytocin system as a modulator of human-directed social behaviour in dogs” and „Measuring individual characteristics  – personality – in dogs”. The sixth plenary lecture entitled „Motor patterns and emotions – evolutionary background of problem behaviour in companion animals. Case study” was delivered by Andrzej Kłosiński (COAPE Polska). The programme of the Symposium also included 10 short oral communications (although only 7 were actually delivered) and 15 posters devoted to a wide range of issues concerning the behavior of various wild-livingl domesticated and laboratory animals. The greatest surprise was provided by one of the short oral communications  which proved to represent a controversial quasi-artistic happening rather than a scientific contribution in the strict sense of that term.

13 June 2017