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The scientific study of networks – computer, social, and biological – has received an enormous amount of interest in recent years. However, the network approach has been applied to the field of animal behaviour relatively late compared to many other biological disciplines. Understanding social network structure is of great importance for biologists since the structural characteristics of any network will affect its constituent members and influence a range of diverse behaviours. These include finding and choosing a sexual partner, developing and maintaining cooperative relationships, and engaging in foraging and anti-predator behavior.
This novel text provides an overview of the insights that network analysis has provided into major biological processes, and how it has enhanced our understanding of the social organisation of several important taxonomic groups. It brings together researchers from a wide range of disciplines with the aim of providing both an overview of the power of the network approach for understanding patterns and process in animal populations, as well as outlining how current methodological constraints and challenges can be overcome.
Animal Social Networks is principally aimed at graduate level students and researchers in the fields of ecology, zoology, animal behaviour, and evolutionary biology but will also be of interest to social scientists.