Multilayer social networks reveal the social complexity of a cooperatively breeding bird

Nikola Dragić, Oded Keynan, Amiyaal Ilany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The social environment of individuals affects various evolutionary and ecological processes. Their social environment is affected by individual and environmental traits. We assessed the effects of these traits on nodes and dyads in six layers of networks of Arabian babblers, representing different interaction types. Additionally, we tested how traits affect social niches in the multilayer networks using the t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (tSNE) dimensionality reduction algorithm. The effect of group size and season was similar across network layers, but individual traits had different effects on different layers. Additionally, we documented assortativity with respect to individual traits in the dominance display and allopreening networks. The joint analysis of all six layers revealed that most traits did not affect individuals' social niches. However, older individuals occupied fewer social niches than younger ones. Our results suggest that multilayer social networks are an important tool for understanding the complex social systems of cooperative breeders and intragroup interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103336
Issue number11
StatePublished - 19 Nov 2021


  • Biological sciences
  • Ecology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Neuroscience

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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