ABS 2024
Multilayer contagions and group dynamics
Matthew Silk. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Social networks shape how information, behaviours and pathogens spread through animal populations. How individuals structure their networks can influence how they trade-off the benefits (e.g. access to social information) and costs (e.g. infection risk) of social interactions. Within animal groups individuals can interact in different ways (e.g. direct contact vs. proximity), which can vary in their importance to different social contagions. Further, the different types of social relationships individuals share may influence how they respond to behavioural contagions in particular. Multilayer networks can be used to study how the multi-dimensionality of the social environment can influence these ecological processes. I will use example models of: 1) pathogen and behaviour spread across network layers representing close contact and long-distance communication; and 2) vocal communication to coordinate collective departures across networks of sub-group and family membership to demonstrate the value of applying multilayer networks in these contexts. I will highlight how we can extend modeling studies like these to provide insights into social ecology and evolution more broadly.