Using Home Range Estimates To Construct Social Networks For Species With Indirect Behavioral Interactions

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Behavioral Ecology And Sociobiology


Social network analysis has become a vital tool for studying patterns of individual interactions that influence a variety of processes in behavior, ecology, and evolution. Taxa in which interactions are indirect or whose social behaviors are difficult to observe directly are being excluded from this rapidly expanding field. Here, we introduce a method that uses a probabilistic and spatially implicit technique for delineating social interactions. Kernel density estimators (KDE) are nonparametric techniques that are often used in home range analyses and allow researchers studying social networks to generate interaction matrices based on shared space use. We explored the use of KDE analysis and the effects of altering KDE input parameters on social network metrics using data from a natural population of the spatially persistent forked fungus beetle, Bolitotherus cornutus.