Comparative approaches in social network ecology

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Greg Albery, Shweta Bansal, Matthew Silk 


Social systems vary enormously across the animal kingdom, with important implications for ecological and evolutionary processes such as infectious disease dynamics, anti-predator defense, and the evolution of cooperation. Comparing social network structures between species offers a promising route to help disentangle the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape this diversity. Comparative analyses of networks like these are challenging and have been used relatively little in ecology, but are becoming increasingly feasible as the number of empirical datasets expands. Here, we provide an overview of multispecies comparative social network studies in ecology and evolution. We identify a range of advancements that these studies have made and key challenges that they face, and we use these to guide methodological and empirical suggestions for future research. Overall, we hope to motivate wider publication and analysis of open social network datasets in animal ecology.



Life Sciences


comparative analysis, meta-analysis, social networks, social system, social dominance, group stability, Disease dynamics, pathogen spread, network analysis


Published: 2023-09-08 09:28

Last Updated: 2023-11-04 07:08

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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