Workshops & Events

Conference Workshops & Events

Please find below the list of scheduled events and their individual times. Please note some events require pre-registration. Additinal information about each event will are posted here as details become available.

ABS 2020 Outreach Fair

Organized by the ABS Education Committee

Using interactive displays, activities, and live animals, learn more about how insects, frogs, fish and mammals help scientists to learn more about how our brains, bodies, and world works. Listen to insects walk, get up close and personal with reptiles, make your own cricket song, blow dart a ‘baboon,’ radio-track a mouse, and hear popular songs through the ‘ears’ of other animals. Activities will be available for children of all ages!


Demonstrating Selected Activities from the 2nd Edition of Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field 

Organizer: Heather Zimbler-DeLorenzo and the ABS Education Committee

The Education Committee continues its tradition of hosting workshops on animal behavior education. This year, over three lunch breaks, we invite you to join us for demonstrations of six chapters from the forthcoming second edition of “Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field.” The feedback will help us to fine-tune the exercises. The Education Committee is dedicated to providing educators with opportunities to learn about different pedagogical styles and provide resources to be used on the classroom.


From Genes To Behavior: Genomic Tools In Diverse Organisms  

Organizer: Zoe Donaldson

How do the gigabases of DNA that make up an organism’s genome ultimately yield an animal capable of dynamic, species-appropriate behaviors? The investigation of genotype-phenotype relationships underlying behavior is of primary relevance to neuroscience, evolution, behavioral ecology, and psychiatry. Yet, the means to address the genetic basis of behavior have traditionally been limited to a handful of laboratory-amenable species, resulting in focus on a handful of behaviors exhibited by these animals while the behavioral richness exhibited by other species remained intractable. However, with the advent of novel functional genetic approaches, such as CRISPR-mediated mutagenesis, traditional technical barriers are dissolving. As this happens, a new challenge emerges: how to best bring these technologies to the researchers who focus their efforts on studying natural behavior. This workshop will bring together functional geneticists developing novel methods to manipulate the genome with biologists focused on diverse behavioral questions. By incorporating NSF-EDGE funded researchers working in mammals, birds, insects, amphibians, and fish, we will provide a broad overview of approaches for genetic manipulation with special emphasis on how these tools can be employed to investigate the genetic roots of behavior and the challenges of implementing them in diverse species. The goal of the talks and subsequent break-out groups will be to provide the knowledge and tools to envision new uses of functional genetic tools, either directly or through collaboration, and enable critical review of emerging applications and literature.    


Learn To Simulate Bird Song Evolution With SongEvo 

Organizers: Elizabeth Derryberry, University of Tennessee, Ray Danner, University of North Carolina Wilmington, David Luther, George Mason University, Graham Derryberry, University of Tennessee

Learn to use SongEvo, a new software package for R (, which models the cultural evolution of continuous features of bird song. Attendees will learn to specify spatially-explicit individual-based models that can be parameterized with, and tested against, empirical or simulated data to test hypotheses of cultural drift and selection. In addition, attendees will learn how to use the model as a heuristic tool for studying the process of song evolution. Users will learn functions for model implementation, sensitivity analyses, parameter optimization, model validation, and hypothesis testing. In this workshop, we will explore the evolution of song bandwidth in Nuttall’s white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys nuttalli) using historical and current song recordings, and discuss ways for users to explore their own data. Attendees should download R software and the SongEvo package (both free) before the workshop.


Weaving the Future of Animal Behavior Workshop:

Organizer: Emilia Martins, Arizona State University, Jennifer Fewell, Arizona State University, and Zulayma Tang-Martinez, University of Missouri-St.Louis

A professional-development opportunity for early-career animal behavior scientists

Our goal is to advance the future of animal behavior science by supporting and promoting the efforts of early-career professionals through workshops, symposia, and long-term, multi-level mentoring.

ABS workshops Each year, we are hosting a multi-day workshop event, starting with a full-day workshop of panel discussions and activities on the day immediately before the ABS meetings, and including gatherings during the conference itself. After the conference, we continue with biweekly video-conferenced peer-mentoring circles that meet throughout the subsequent year.

Workshop participants are early-career animal behavior professionals, including pre-tenure and junior faculty and advanced postdocs. We particularly encourage women and scientists from underrepresented groups in animal behavior to apply. We have funding from both the ABS and the National Science Foundation (IOS-Animal Behavior program #1833455) to cover travel expenses for some participants.

Our group has also been organizing events to showcase the work of early-career animal behavior scientists. For the ABS 2020 conference, Jenn Smith (Mills College) organized a symposium entitled “WFAB: Technological Advances to Reveal the Secret Lives of Animals”.

How to get involved: Consider applying to participate in the next ABS workshop, share this announcement with others who might apply, or contact the wfab leadership team (Emília Martins, Jen Fewell, Zuleyma Tang-Martinez) with questions (

Application Deadline: April 10, 2020