Julienne Therese Bonoan
ProjectSocial Network Analysis of female reindeer Rangifer tarandus: Do females associate due to relatedness?
A social network can be defined as the social interconnectedness of different individuals. Analysis of social structures can provide insights into a multitude of processes that occur in the population, such as cooperation and transmission of information. It thus has many practical applications, for example in disease management and in conservation programs. The effects of kinship (or genetic relatedness) in the social organization is of particular interest in this project as there have also been many studies proving its importance. However, analyzing the social structure of populations exhibiting fission-fusion group dynamics has been particularly challenging. Along with long-term data, GPS data on a semi-domesticated herd of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) situated in Kaamanen, Finland allows for a more accurate identification and positioning of individuals, which would benefit this study by providing greater detail and precision in association and network data. The use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) has also been gaining in popularity due to its advantages and practicality, and thus will be used to analyze the social network of this species. This project would thus be of great importance as it will not only be able to analyze the social structure of a species exhibiting fission-fusion group dynamics, but also to exhibit the advantages of utilizing more modern techniques such as GPS collars and SNA.