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Illuminating Animal Behavior: The Impact of Laboratory Structure on Tropism Research at Marine Stations

Illuminating Animal Behavior: The Impact of Laboratory Structure on Tropism Research at Marine Stations

Chapter:
(p.119) Five Illuminating Animal Behavior: The Impact of Laboratory Structure on Tropism Research at Marine Stations
Source:
Why Study Biology by the Sea?
Author(s):
Samantha Muka
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226673097.003.0006

Two main experimental programs emerged in heliotropism research at the turn of the twentieth century. One program, associated with the work of Jacques Loeb, focused on quantitatively measuring large groups of organisms’ reactions to light to identify universal behavior patterns. The other, closely associated with Herbert Spencer Jennings, focused more closely on qualitative analysis of individual organisms’ behaviors to ascertain how internal and external variables impact those responses. Both programs required specialized organisms, light technologies, and spaces to conduct their experiments. Marine stations were the epicenters of both heliotropism research programs. This paper examines how a single institution could simultaneously support opposing research projects requiring different experimental set-ups. Three variables made marine stations so useful to both groups: access to a wide array and abundance of fresh specimens, a wide variety of lighting and glassware, and simple spaces able to be molded to the experimentalist’s requirements.

Keywords:   laboratory, behavior, Jacques Loeb, Herbert Spencer Jennings

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