Social Networks and the Conservation of Fish
Villegas-Ríos, D., Jacoby, D.M.P., Mourier, J. (2022). Social networks and the conservation of fish. Communications Biology.
Despite our critical dependence on aquatic wildlife, we lack a complete understanding of the drivers of population stability and structure for most fish species. Social network analysis has been increasingly used to investigate animal societies as it explicitly links individual decision-making to population-level processes and demography. While the study of social structure is of great ecological interest, it is also potentially important for species of economic value or of conservation concern. To date however, there has been little focus on how social processes are likely to influence the conservation of fish populations. Here we identify applications for how a social network approach can help address broad fish conservation themes such as population structure, biological invasions or fisheries management. We discuss the burgeoning opportunities offered and challenges still faced by current technologies to integrate social network approaches within fish conservation.