A social network can be defined as any number of individuals interconnected via social ties between them (e.g. sexual, cooperative, etc.). Understanding social network structure is of great importance because the structural characteristics of the network will affect its constituent members. For example, a social network can support a diverse array of behaviours (which in turn will be influenced by its structure), including finding and choosing a sexual partner, developing and maintaining cooperative relationships, and engaging in foraging and anti-predator behaviour. This book provides an overview of the insights that network analysis has provided into major biological processes such as cooperation, mating, and communication and how it has enhanced our understanding of the social organization of several important taxonomic groups (e.g. primates, fishes, birds, etc.). Furthermore, it introduces some important methodological developments regarding the network approach and outline priority areas for future research.
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