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Animal Social Networks$
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Jens Krause, Richard James, Daniel W. Franks, and Darren P. Croft

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199679041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679041.001.0001

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Oceanic societies: studying cetaceans with a social networks approach

Oceanic societies: studying cetaceans with a social networks approach

Chapter:
(p.139) Chapter 13 Oceanic societies: studying cetaceans with a social networks approach
Source:
Animal Social Networks
Author(s):

Shane Gero

Luke Rendell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679041.003.0013

Cetaceans have diverse and sometimes complex social structures, including features such as long-term units with hierarchical levels of association and second-order alliances coupled with vocal communication incorporating learned signals and multiple levels of dialect formation. These features, along with the logistical difficulties of collecting data in the wild, mean that analysing their social networks is both challenging and rewarding, and hence they have proven a fruitful arena for the development and deployment of new approaches to network analysis. Cetaceans pose unique challenges when it comes to measuring and analysing association or interaction data, and these challenges need to be understood to ensure subsequent interpretations are robust. This chapter briefly describes the diversity of cetacean social networks using the four best-studied species as examples. It then discusses current research under four main headings, starting with methodological advances in network analysis that derive from studies of cetaceans. The chapter also describes recent findings that use social network analysis to understand the resilience of social structures, the social roles that individuals play in these networks, the principal drivers of networks structure, and how networks might function as substrates for cultural transmission within cetacean societies. Finally, the chapter highlights that cetaceans may be a particularly rich group for studying the links between social and communication networks, especially with advent of new tracking technologies that will make it possible to study interactions in detail.

Keywords:   cetaceans, social network analysis, social structure, vocal communication, communication networks

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