Social network analysis resolves temporal dynamics of male dominance relationships

Bierbach, David, Oster, Sophie, Jourdan, Jonas, Arias-Rodriguez, Lenin, Krause, Jens, Wilson, Alexander D. M. and Plath, Martin 2014, Social network analysis resolves temporal dynamics of male dominance relationships, Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, vol. 68, no. 6, pp. 935-945, doi: 10.1007/s00265-014-1706-y.

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Title Social network analysis resolves temporal dynamics of male dominance relationships
Author(s) Bierbach, David
Oster, Sophie
Jourdan, Jonas
Arias-Rodriguez, Lenin
Krause, Jens
Wilson, Alexander D. M.
Plath, Martin
Journal name Behavioral ecology and sociobiology
Volume number 68
Issue number 6
Start page 935
End page 945
Total pages 11
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2014-06
ISSN 0340-5443
Keyword(s) social network analysis
phenotypic polymorphism
dominance hierarchy
Atlantic molly
Poecilia mexicana
Summary Social organization is often studied through point estimates of individual association or interaction patterns, which does not account for temporal changes in the course of familiarization processes and the establishment of social dominance. Here, we present new insights on short-term temporal dynamics in social organization of mixed-sex groups that have the potential to affect sexual selection patterns. Using the live-bearing Atlantic molly (Poecilia mexicana), a species with pronounced male size polymorphism, we investigated social network dynamics of mixed sex experimental groups consisting of eight females and three different-sized males over a period of 5 days. Analyzing association-based social networks as well as direct measures of spatial proximity, we found that large males tended to monopolize most females, while excluding small- and medium-bodied males from access to females. This effect, however, emerged only gradually over time, and different-sized males had equal access to females on day 1 as well as day 2, though to a lesser extent. In this highly aggressive species with strong social dominance stratifications, the observed temporal dynamics in male-female association patterns may balance the presumed reproductive skew among differentially competitive male phenotypes when social structures are unstable (i.e., when individual turnover rates are moderate to high). Ultimately, our results point toward context-dependent sexual selection arising from temporal shifts in social organization.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s00265-014-1706-y
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified
060801 Animal Behaviour
060807 Animal Structure and Function
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Springer
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