Published: July 24, 2013

The 50th annual meeting of the international Animal Behavior Society to be held at the University of Colorado Boulder July 28-Aug. 2 will feature several public events, including lectures, scientific demonstrations and a film festival.

The public lectures, to be held at the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the University Memorial Center, are part of the Applied Animal Behavior Public Day on Sunday, July 28, titled “Creating Quality Lives for Dogs and Cats Through the Science of Animal Behavior.”  

The daylong event will begin with an 8:30 a.m. talk titled “Bring Out Your Inner Dr. Doolittle: Communication and Quality of Life” by Patricia McConnell, an animal behaviorist and adjunct associate professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The talk will be followed at 9:45 a.m. by a presentation by Suzanne Hetts and Dan Estep of Littleton, co-owners of Animal Behavior Associates, titled “Can We Still Be Friends? Helping Dogs and Cats Get Along.”

At 11 a.m. CU-Boulder Professor Emeritus Marc Bekoff will give a talk titled “Animals at Play: What We’ve Learned From Dogs and Their Wild Relatives.” Bekoff has won a number of international awards for his scientific research, has authored several books and co-founded the group “Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” with internationally known primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall.

The afternoon sessions begin at 1:15 p.m. with a talk by Julie Hecht, a canine behavioral researcher and science writer in New York City, titled “Get Into the Head of the Dog in Your Bed and You’ll Both Be Happier: Updates on Canine Cognition Research.”

Hecht’s talk will be followed by a lecture by Pamela Reid, vice president of the Animal Behavior Center at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Urbana, Ill. Reid’s talk is titled “When Dogs and Cats Have It Bad: Working With Animal Victims of Human Cruelty.” 

A panel discussion by all public lecture participants will follow at 3:30 p.m. on July 28. For more information visit

The conference also will hold a film festival on July 29 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on July 30 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. The July 29 films are noncommercial and feature topics ranging from wolf and monkey conservation to wild bird behavior. The July 30 films are commercial and range from the behavior of crocodiles and musk oxen to European elk, whooper swans and great gray owls. For more information on the film festival visit

The conference also will feature a daytime event on Aug. 2 in the UMC and at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History to introduce animal
behavior research to the public through a combination of engaging activities and hands-on exhibits. The event is being hosted by the CU museum. For more information visit

More than 800 scientists and students from North America, Central America, South America and Europe will be attending the conference, said CU-Boulder Professor Michael Breed of the ecology and evolutionary biology department, one of the conference coordinators. There will be more than 100 scientific presentations by Animal Behavior Society members on the behavior of organisms ranging from spiders, ants and bees to bluebirds, dolphins and baboons during the four-day meeting.

The Animal Behavior Society was founded in 1964 as a nonprofit scientific society to encourage and promote the study of animal behavior. Current members’ research activities span the invertebrates and vertebrates, both in the field and in the laboratory, and include experimental psychology, behavioral ecology, neuroscience, zoology, biology, applied ethology, human ethology and many other specialized areas.

News Media Contacts:
Michael Breed, 303-492-7687
Jim Scott, CU-Boulder media relations, 303-492-3114