Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22806
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: African forest elephant social networks: Fission-fusion dynamics, but fewer associations
Authors: Schuttler, Stephanie G
Whittaker, Alden
Jeffery, Kathryn Jane
Eggert, Lori S
Contact Email: kathryn.jeffery1@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Social networks
Social structure
Loxodonta cyclotis
Fission-fusion
Elephants
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Inter-Research
Citation: Schuttler SG, Whittaker A, Jeffery KJ & Eggert LS (2014) African forest elephant social networks: Fission-fusion dynamics, but fewer associations, Endangered Species Research, 25 (2), pp. 165-173.
Abstract: For animal species with dynamic interactions, understanding social patterns can be difficult. Social network analysis quantifies associations and their intensity between individuals within a population, revealing the overall patterns of the society. We used networks to test the hypothesis that the elusive African forest elephantLoxodonta cyclotisexhibits fission-fusion social dynamics, similar to other elephant species. We observed associations between individuals in savanna clearings in Lopé National Park, Gabon, in 2006, 2008, and 2010. When possible, dung was collected from individuals for genetic analyses using 10 microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial DNA control region. Using simple ratio association indices, networks were created for each year, wet and dry seasons, individuals detected at least twice, and for all females. We identified 118 unique adult females, for 40 of which we obtained genetic information. Networks had low densities, many disconnected components, short average path lengths, and high clustering coefficients. Within components, average relatedness was 0.093 ± 0.071 (SD) and females appeared to share mitochondrial haplotypes. We detected 1 large component consisting of 22 adult females, but there were few preferred associations (8 of 65, 12.3%). No seasonal or yearly differences were observed. Our results substantiate fission-fusion dynamics in forest elephants; however, the networks are more disconnected than those for other elephant species, possibly due to poaching and ecological constraints in the forest environment.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22806
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/esr00618
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms by Inter-Research. All articles published by Inter-Research journals become open access under Creative Commons licence (CC-BY 3.0) 5 years after publication.
Affiliation: University of Missouri - Columbia
Zakouma National Park
Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Missouri - Columbia

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