Topological effects of network structure on long-term social network dynamics in a wild mammal

Amiyaal Ilany, Andrew S. Booms, Kay E. Holekamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Social structure influences ecological processes such as dispersal and invasion, and affects survival and reproductive success. Recent studies have used static snapshots of social networks, thus neglecting their temporal dynamics, and focused primarily on a limited number of variables that might be affecting social structure. Here, instead we modelled effects of multiple predictors of social network dynamics in the spotted hyena, using observational data collected during 20 years of continuous field research in Kenya. We tested the hypothesis that the current state of the social network affects its long-term dynamics. We employed stochastic agent-based models that allowed us to estimate the contribution of multiple factors to network changes. After controlling for environmental and individual effects, we found that network density and individual centrality affected network dynamics, but that social bond transitivity consistently had the strongest effects. Our results emphasise the significance of structural properties of networks in shaping social dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-695
Number of pages9
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.


  • Cooperation
  • Network dynamics
  • Social network
  • Spotted hyena


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