Working with Animal Social Networks and Encouraging Collaborations between Animal Ecologists and Network Scientists

Jessica Kropczynski, Penn State University
Joseph Johnson, Bucknell University                                                                                                Adam Jonas, University of Kentucky

LIMITED to 30 Seats

Researchers interested in animal behavior have long sought to better understand relationships between individual animals, as well as larger social structures, in social animal species. Animal ecologists have been applying concepts of social network analysis for over a decade, but careful examination of many studies reveals an incomplete understanding of many network analysis concepts and capabilities. This signifies a large opportunity for network scientists to collaborate with animal ecologists to better combine these areas of expertise and generate meaningful hypotheses and analyses regarding animal social networks. This workshop will be led by a team of scientists which come from each of these disciplines and provide an example of how network analysis can used and misused in animal ecology. The workshop will focus on positive examples of where network analysis can most meaningfully be applied in animal research, focusing not only on charismatic species which has received ample attention (i.e., primates and cetaceans), but also focus on small mammals which are more common in wild as well as captive settings (i.e., rodents and bats). The workshop will give an overview of possible study designs, highlighting common pitfalls, and allow attendees to discuss their own research interests and ideas. Organizers will present data collected on free-ranging mammals to illustrate the types of data commonly collected and help generate ideas for collaborations that attendees could forge in their regions. The workshop will emphasize the diversity in data collection methods existing in the animal ecology field and encourage attendees to take advantage of this diversity and reach out to ecologists in their area in order to foster the growth of social network analysis in animal ecology.

Please note: Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop with some type of network analysis software installed (preferably UCINET)