The ecology of movement and behaviour: A saturated tripartite network for describing animal contacts

Kezia Manlove, Christina Aiello, Pratha Sah, Bree Cummins, Peter J. Hudson, Paul C. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Ecologists regularly use animal contact networks to describe interactions underlying pathogen transmission, gene flow, and information transfer. However, empirical descriptions of contact often overlook some features of individual movement, and decisions about what kind of network to use in a particular setting are commonly ad hoc. Here, we relate individual movement trajectories to contact networks through a tripartite network model of individual, space, and time nodes. Most networks used in animal contact studies (e.g. individual association networks, home range overlap networks, and spatial networks) are simplifications of this tripartite model. The tripartite structure can incorporate a broad suite of alternative ecological metrics like home range sizes and patch occupancy patterns into inferences about contact network metrics such as modularity and degree distribution.We demonstrate the model's utility with two simulation studies using alternative forms of ecological data to constrain the tripartite network's structure and inform expectations about the harder-to-measure metrics related to contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20180670
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1887
StatePublished - Sep 26 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'The ecology of movement and behaviour: A saturated tripartite network for describing animal contacts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this