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Gewählte Master / Diploma Thesis:

Anna Christina Herzog (2014): Soziale Netzwerkanalyse beim Rind Beschreibung der räumlichen und sozialen Beziehungen in einer Milchviehherde.
Master / Diploma Thesis - Institut für Nutztierwissenschaften (NUWI), BOKU-Universität für Bodenkultur, pp 180. UB BOKU obvsg

Data Source: ZID Abstracts
The social structure of cattle has previously mainly been described from the point of view of agonistic interactions going on in the herd. This study focuses on the display of group structure based on social network analysis, exploring the spatial associations of the animals in the stable as well as agonistic and affiliative social interactions among them. The data was collected from video recordings of a dairy herd kept in loose housing. Associations were recorded during 10 days in four different functional areas of the barn, using instantaneous scan sampling. To describe the spatial distance between focal animals and their neighbours, three adjacency categories were defined, distinguishing between direct and indirect neighbours. Continuous behaviour sampling was applied to assess the social relationships in the herd. The structure and properties of the resulting networks were then described on the group level by quantitative network parameters for centrality and cohesion and qualitative graphical realisations, using the analytical software UCINET. Furthermore, spatial and social networks of different areas, adjacency categories, days and interaction categories were compared to explore structural coherencies, using QAP-correlations. The pattern of the two main networks is very dense, especially regarding the spatial distribution of animals in the barn, displaying characeristics of small-world networks. However, they are quite weakly correlated, with correlation coefficients below 0,3. The adjacency patterns of animals are not the same in the different functional areas. Moreover, animals entertain different relationships depending on the spatial distance and the form of interaction. In conclusion, social network analysis appears to be a suitable method to assess and explore cattle social networks in a standardised way. In addition to descriptive analysis, the testing of hypotheses and modelling of networks are to be seen as future challenges in this field of study.

Beurteilende(r): Winckler Christoph
1.Mitwirkender: Gutmann Anke

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