Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Modelling sociality in carnivores
Authors: Ward, Jessica Kate Rowntree
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Many theories have been put forward as potential explanations for social behaviour in carnivores, yet there is little consensus as to the factors that drive the formation of groups and social behaviours. Traditionally two selection pressures have been postulated to explain why animals are social; the exploitation of resources and avoidance of predation. Much of the work investigating sociality has focussed on single factors to explain group formation. However, many of these factors such as life history, diet, predation risk, and habitat use are confounded, operating at different temporal and spatial scales but interacting nonetheless. Thus it is important to investigate sociality in the context of multiple factors to understand how their complexity may influence social behaviours. This work investigates factors affecting sociality across narrowing scales to test hypotheses of the factors driving the formation of social groups and the resulting social behaviours. Topic modelling of descriptive data was used to understand behavioural similarities between species. Formalising the hypotheses of sociality as models and testing them with quantitative data demonstrated the relative importance of life history and environmental factors on the formation of social groups in different species. At a population level this interaction between the group and their environment is demonstrated to influence the demography of the group in a socially plastic species. Within populations individual based models show support for the hypothesis that the formation of social groupings is driven by energetic demands. Understanding the conditions that favour sociality within a species or population beyond predation and resource exploitation could prove useful for informing the management and conservation of carnivores, many of which are under threat. This thesis has evidenced, through multiple modelling approaches, the importance of integrating life history data and environmental information when considering the conditions under which social behaviours are exhibited.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Ward Jessica E-Copy.pdfThesis5.31 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.