The role of habitat configuration in shaping social structure: a gap in studies of animal social complexity

Peng He, Adriana Alexandra Maldonado Chaparro, Damien R. Farine

Resultado de la investigación: Contribución a una revistaArtículo

15 Citas (Scopus)


Animal societies are shaped both by social processes and by the physical environment in which social interactions take place. While many studies take the observed patterns of inter-individual interactions as products and proxies of pure social processes, or as links between resource availability and social structure, the role of the physical configuration of habitat features in shaping the social system of group-living animals remains largely overlooked. We hypothesise that by shaping the decisions about when and where to move, physical features of the environment will impact which individuals more frequently encounter one another and in doing so the overall social structure and social organization of populations. We first discuss how the spatial arrangement of habitat components (i.e. habitat configuration) can shape animal movements using empirical cases in the literature. Then, we draw from the empirical literature to discuss how movement patterns of individuals mediate the patterns of social interactions and social organization and highlight the role of network-based approaches in identifying, evaluating and partitioning the effects of habitat configuration on animal social structure or organization. We illustrate the combination of these mechanisms using a simple simulation. Finally, we discuss the implications of habitat configuration in shaping the ecology and evolution of animal societies and offer a framework for future studies. We highlight future directions for studies in animal societies that are increasingly important in widely human-modified landscapes, in particular the implications of habitat-driven social structure in evolution.
Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo9
PublicaciónBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
EstadoPublicada - ene 19 2019
Publicado de forma externa

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