ABS 2022
Social situations differ in their contribution to population-level social structure in griffon vultures
Nitika Sharma1, Nili Anglister2, Ohad Hatzofe3, Ygal Miller3, Orr Spiegel2, Noa Pinter-Wollman1. 1UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 2Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel; 3Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel

Social relationships among animals emerge from interactions in multiple situations. However, we seldom ask how each situation contributes to the global structure of a population, and whether different situations contribute different information about social relationships. Griffon vultures interact socially in multiple situations, including communal roosting, joint flights, and co-feeding. These interactions can influence population-level outcomes, such as disease transmission and information sharing that determine survival and adaptability. We examined the unique contribution of each situation to the social structure of the population using GPS tracking. We found that the number of individuals each vulture interacted with was best predicted by diurnal interactions. However, the strength, i.e., the number of interactions an individual had, was best predicted by on-ground interactions. Thus, social situations differ in their impact on the relationships that individuals form.  Given the conservation importance of vultures, uncovering how different social situations impact social structures and joint foraging, can inform wildlife management actions that aim at altering social bonds.