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November 2015 Vol. 53 No. 3

Oxford University Press

The following review appeared in the November 2015 issue of CHOICE:

2014-942172 MARC
Animal social networks, ed. by Jens Krause et al. Oxford, 2015. 260p bibl index ISBN 9780199679058 pbk, $64.95.

While most people are familiar with practical aspects of social networks through new forms of media, this edited volume provides a broad but still comprehensive introduction to social networks in the field of animal behavioral research.  Laid out as a series of short and easy-to-read chapters written by domain-specific experts, the book touches on virtually all the applications of the network approach to biological processes, including cooperation, dominance, mating relationships, communication interactions, socially mediated diffusion of innovations, group movement, personality traits, disease transmission, and animal welfare.  Each of these mini literature reviews links up-to-date theoretical background, methodology, and main research findings.  The last seven chapters offer further insightful comments on social network analyses in taxon-specific studies of insects, reptiles, fish, cetaceans, birds, ungulates, and primates.  The first chapter is designed as a glossary of the technical terms used throughout the book, and the conclusion highlights promising research directions.  Served by an excellent use of various helpful illustrations (matrices, diagrams, flowcharts, and actual social networks) and a few formulas of mathematical models, this thorough reference book will resonate well with a broad readership, including ethologists, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists.

--J-B. Leca, University of Lethbridge

Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.