Female reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) do not associate based on their relatedness, but socialize less as they get older

Écologie comportementale
jeudi 19 déc.   10:25 AM à 10:40 AM (15 minutes)
Salle CD

Social Network Analysis (SNA) has been growing in popularity as a tool to understand the social patterns of animal populations, where multiple factors such as age and relatedness affect social patterns. Therefore, understanding the drivers of how animals socialize with each other in a population has many implications such as insights into the ecology, biology, and behaviour of its members. Using GPS-telemetry and SNA on 2 years (2009 and 2011) of data from a semi-domesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) population in Northern Finland, characterized by fission-fusion group dynamics, we assessed whether age and genetic relatedness could explain social networking among females during the rut. We found that females had distinct communities and associated non-randomly in both years; however, genetic relatedness was not a significant factor in explaining their social network while age had conflicting results. There was no significant effect of age in the social network in 2009, but females socialized less above the age of 6 in 2011. The discrepancy was found to be due to the difference in age ranges – there were 12 females above 7 years old, which was the oldest age in 2009. In conclusion, our results provided insights into the social structure of a population exhibiting fission-fusion group dynamics, in which females do not associate based on relatedness but socialize less as they grow older.

Concordia University
MSc Student

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