I particularly enjoyed Colby’s talk about his work in the Alberts lab, which deals with variations in baboon social behavior. I have always found animal behavior to be a very interesting topic, so I was excited to learn about one of the ways in which this type of research is conducted.
I was somewhat surprised to find out that his work deals mostly with models, which I have very little experience with. Because of my lack of familiarity in this type of work, I was interested to hear about the years of compiled data and the many models that are involved in studying animal behavior.
I was also interested in learning about some of the challenges that come with conducting this type of animal research. For example, I was particularly fascinated by the fact that there are many years worth of data regarding the roles that genetics play in establishing baboon social structures, but there is relatively little data regarding the roles that environmental/non-genetic factors play in determining these social structures simply because it is difficult to control for their natural environment. All types of research have different limitations and I think it is interesting to hear about how different researchers work around these challenges.