LaboratoriesLaboratory for behavior and behavior ecology of mammals \  Goals and Tasks


Headed by Rozhnov Vyacheslav Vladimirovich, Dr. Biol. Sci.,
Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

tel. (495)-952-73-05

   Tchernogolovka Biological Station   
   Kostroma Taiga Biological Station   


The head of the group V.V. Rozhnov

The working moment of the experiment

Registration of the acoustic signals of the wolf during the expedition works on the study of mammalian behavioral ecology

  • Ecology of organisms and communities
  • Biological diversity
  • General genetics

A concept of mediated communication in mammals was suggested. According to the concept, an animal allocates in its environment as much as possible information about itself, undertakes "information expansion", "multiplies" its own image, separating the source of the signal from itself, and, as a result, the time of olfactory signal action increases (thanks to "olfactory dublicate" creation) and its action takes place at the absence of the individual itself, which has left olfactory tag. With the help of olfactory tags an individual not only creates information social field, which is inhabited by the group, and this field not only helps the members of the group to orient in social environment, but fixes its position in it (Rozhnov V.V.).

It was shown that in non-crossing in nature sympatric species of house mouse of the superspecies complex of Mus musculus s.l., pre-copulative reproduction isolation was provided by its multiple duplicating at different levels of organization: the level of olfactory receptors, behavior of separate individuals in response to olfactory signals, pair interactions of potential sexual partners (Kotenkova E.V.).

For the first time the phenomenon of spontaneous inter-brood aggression in Eurasian lynx was described. In aggression period the growth rate of cubs is markedly lowered. As a result of fights, asymmetry in social relations of cubs strengthens and their hierarchical relations are formed that leads to acceleration of the growth rates in conquered kittens and their lowering in lost cubs. The study of hormonal mechanisms of the phenomenon showed that cubs' aggression was not testosterone dependent and was connected with the change of androstendion and cortisol levels, the peak of which was observed during the fights period (Naidenko S.V.).

As a result of functional and typological approach to the special organization of wolf family groups, a concept of family area structuring with separation of three subunits - the hearth, living area and spatial envelope was suggested. For each subunit, its own annual rhythm of the use by animals of different sexual and age classes is inherent, which determines the dynamics of social ties and the character of influence on prey populations (Hernandes-Blanko H.A., Poyarkov A.D.).

A versatile monographic study on behavior and behavior ecology of musk - an exposed commercial species of Ungulata, one of the subspecies of which was registered in the Red Data Book of Russian Federation, was carried out. The results of the study are summarized in monograph (Prikhod'ko V.I.).

A concept of ethological mechanisms of population homeostasis in rodents with separation of four seasonal-dynamical mechanisms was suggested. The mechanisms of spatial segregation are based on complicated multifunctional behavioral complex (aggressive, ritualistic agonistic and marking behavior), providing the lowering of interspecies competition. The mechanisms of functional integration unite exploratory and marking behavior, complex forms of social interrelations, which facilitate formation of interpopulation groups with complicated social structure and provide an increase in the degree of order of interactions between individuals. As a proximal mechanism of evolution of social ability in rodents, tactile stimulation in their parental behavior is under consideration (Gromov V.S.).

A principle of optimal diversity of biosystems was formulated, according to which the probability of boisystem survival depended on their diversity. Optimal internal diversity of biosystems becomes established in unbroken biosystems, existing in historically typical for them environment. Under deviations from the optimal state (as a result of rapid changes of environment or violations in biosystems themselves), the diversity stops to be optimal and probability of the system survival lowers. Mathematical model of optimal diversity in hierarchical biosystem with interacting levels of population and community was developed and studied. Criterion of optimization in the model is the effectiveness of resource use by biosystem (Bukvaryova E.N.).

On the basis of the study of interspecific behavioral interrelations of four pairs of meadow mousse, inhabiting forest biotopes (their areals were broadly overlapping) and being in different phylogenetic kinship, an existence of two principally different mechanisms of interrelation of closely related species was shown: domination of one species over another and their parity co-existence. The latter could lead to hybridization of the species in refuges. Hybridization between red-backed and red meadow mousse, captured in sympatric populations, was proved (Osipova O.V.).

As a result of cytogenetic studies, the areals of species-siblings of common meadow mouse in the basins of the Don and Volga were substantially refined; several new chromosomal forms of the steppe of zapodids of the group "subtilis" were revealed; it was shown that the steppe zapodids of the group "subtilis" represented a complex of sibling species; it was experimentally proved that revealed in Chinese meadow mouse chromosomal polymorphism (the presence of three combinations of sexual chromosomes in females- 10, 12 and 22, and in males - always 2) determined reproductive success of individuals of different cytotypes: in individuals 22 it was drastically reduced and they had lowered viability, while two other forms did not differ in the indices of reproduction success. (Koval'skaya Yu.M.).

Original methods of the study of defensive behavior in big mammals (northern deer, moose deer, brown bear, and beaver) were developed - the measurement of defensive distances, description of motion paths and vectors of orientation. It was shown that genetic differences between populations and intensity of hunting were the main factors determining population differences of defensive behavior. A hypothesis was suggested that the building activity of the beaver is a specific form of defensive behavior, directed to creation of refuges from predators (Baskin L.M.).

For characterization of mammalian distribution and the use of the area by them in connection with the process of orientation, a vector hierarchical system of orientation was suggested. It is founded on the special rhythms of activity and includes double control: according to the distance from check points and timer. The system of vectors represents an averaged adaptation to distribution of the structural elements of the habitat and has mainframe importance for formation of the basic features of the system of activity centers and areas as phase-plain portraits of the system of vectors (Zaitsev V.A.).

The habits of vibrissa use by small mammals of various ecological groups were revealed. It was established that the role of vibrissa touch was the most important for arboreal species, living in complicated saturated environment, and was lesser significant for terrestrial animals, living in uniform biotopes. It was shown that deprivation of vibrissa touch at early stages of postnatal ontogeny in gray rats led to compensatory strengthening of the role of visual analyzer (Tikhonova G.N., Tikhonov I.A.).

Ecological and behavioral differences of the sibling species of common meadow mouse were revealed: Microtus arvalis were more successful on the territories, slightly touched by anthropogenic influence, and M. rossiaemeridionalis - on the territories, subjected to them. In natural cenoses and in biotopes of anthropogenic origin, the both species were inherent to different habitats, and their daily rhythms were realized in antiphase. Different strategies of intraspecific interactions and avoiding of intraspecific competition were inherent to them: in M. arvalis this was shown up in division of special-temporal niches, in M. rossiaemeridionalis - per contra, in uniting and synchronization of daily rhythms (Tikhonova G.N., Tikhonov I.A.).

The theory of biological signal field took its further development in the notion about it as a metatheory of communicative processes. Introduction of the notion of information power of communication channel (a potential volume of transmitted information through a concrete channel per definite time) allows the use of the theory of biological signal field as generalizing theory and as configurator, conforming concrete knowledge in different fields into single integrated system (Poyarkov A.D.).