Marc Bekoff
Professor Emeritus


Lab website

Marc Bekoff
Research Interests

Behavioral ecology and social biology including social behavior and social organization, evolution and development, communication, and vigilance (antipredatory behavior). Field research has been on coyotes, western evening grosbeaks, and mixed flocks of birds. Current research deals with the development of communication and social relationships in various canids and vigilance in mixed flocks of birds. Other strong interests include cognitive ethology and links between animal behavior, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and animal welfare. Graduate students are expected to develop their own field projects. Graduate work has dealt with different aspects of social behavior in bighorn sheep, peccaries, pronghorns, pikas, free-ranging dogs, rock squirrels, Abert's squirrels, and wolves.

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Selected Publications

Bekoff , M. 2005. The question of animal emotions: An ethological perspective. In F. McMillan (ed.) Mental Health and Well-being in Animals. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, Iowa. Pp. 15-27.

Bekoff , M. 2004. Wild justice and fair play: cooperation, forgiveness, and morality in animals. Biology & Philosophy 19: 489-520.

Bekoff , M., and P. W. Sherman. 2004. Reflections on animal selves. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19: 176-180.

Bekoff , M., and J. Nystrom. 2004. The other side of silence: Rachel Carson's views of animals. Zygon 39: 61-88.

Dugatkin, L. A. and Bekoff , M. 2003. Play and the evolution of fairness: A game theory model. Behavioural Processes, 60, 209-214.

Bekoff , M. 2002. Virtuous nature. New Scientist 13 July, 34-37.

Bekoff , M. 2002. The importance of ethics in conservation biology: Let's be ethicists not ostriches. Endangered Species Update 19 (2): 23-26.

Spinka, M., Newberry, R. C., and Bekoff , M. 2001. Mammalian play: Training for the unexpected. Quarterly Review of Biology 76, 141-168.

Bradshaw, I. G. A. and M. Bekoff . 2001. Ecology and social responsibility: the re-embodiment of science Trends in Ecology and Evolution 8, 460-465.

Bekoff , M. 2001. Human-carnivore interactions: Adopting proactive strategies for complex problems. In J. L. Gittleman, S. M. Funk, D. W. Macdonald, and R. K. Wayne (eds.) Carnivore Conservation. Cambridge University Press, London and New York. pp. 179-195.

Bekoff , M. 2001.The evolution of animal play, emotions, and social morality: On science, theology, spirituality, personhood, and love. Zygon (Journal of Religion and Science) 36, 615-655.

Bekoff , M. 2001. Social play behaviour: Cooperation, fairness, trust, and the evolution of morality. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8, 81-90.

Bekoff , M. 2001. Observations of scent-marking and discriminating self from others by a domestic dog (Canis familiaris): Tales of displaced yellow snow. Behavioural Processes 55, 75-79.

Bekoff , M. 2001. Cunning coyotes: Tireless tricksters, protean predators. In L. Dugatkin (ed.) Model Systems in Behavioral Ecology. Princeton, Princeton University Press. pp. 381-407.

Bekoff , M., and Dugatkin, L. 2000. Winner and loser effects and the development of dominance relationships in young coyotes: An integration of data and theory. Evolutionary Ecology Research 2, 871-883.

Bekoff , M., Allen, C., and Grant, M. C. 1999. Feeding decisions by Steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri): The utility of a logistic regression model for analyses of complex choices.Ethology 105: 393-406.

Allen, J., Bekoff , M., and Crabtree, R. 1999. An observational study of coyote (Canis latrans) scent-marking and territoriality in Yellowstone National Park. Ethology 105: 289-302.

Bekoff , M., and Jamieson, D. 1996. Ethics and the study of carnivores: Doing science while respecting animals. In J. L. Gittleman (ed.), Carnivore behavior, ecology, and evolution, Volume 2. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. pp. 15-45.

Bekoff , M. 1995. Play signals as punctuation: The structure of social play in canids. Behaviour 132: 419-429.

Recent Books

In the book titled: Ignoring Nature No More, Marc Bekoff and a host of renowned contributors argue that it is time to employ a new mind-set about nature - one that centers on empathy, compassion, and being proactive. You can obtain more information about the book here

In his children's book titled: Jasper's story, Marc explores the conservation work that he performs in China, which involves the rescuing of the endangered Moon Bears from the bear bile industry. More information about the book can be viewed here