Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 117–130 | Cite as

Social networks and models for collective motion in animals

  • Nikolai W. F. Bode
  • A. Jamie Wood
  • Daniel W. Franks


The theory of collective motion and the study of animal social networks have, each individually, received much attention. Currently, most models of collective motion do not consider social network structure. The implications for considering collective motion and social networks together are likely to be important. Social networks could determine how populations move in, split up into and form separate groups (social networks affecting collective motion). Conversely, collective movement could change the structure of social networks by creating social ties that did not exist previously and maintaining existing ties (collective motion affecting social networks). Thus, there is a need to combine the two areas of research and examine the relationship between network structure and collective motion. Here, we review different modelling approaches that combine social network structures and collective motion. Although many of these models have not been developed with ecology in mind, they present a current context in which a biologically relevant theory can be developed. We argue that future models in ecology should take inspiration from empirical observations and consider different mechanisms of how social preferences could be expressed in collectively moving animal groups.


Social networks Collective motion Collective behaviour Communication networks Social interaction Group behaviour 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolai W. F. Bode
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Jamie Wood
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Daniel W. Franks
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.York Centre for Complex Systems AnalysisYorkUK
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  3. 3.Department of MathematicsUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  4. 4.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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