CCAS has officially started!
The project aims to investigate how animals, and more specifically social carnivores Coordinate and Communicate Across Scales. However, with collaborators in America, Europe, Africa and Australia – our study species are not the only ones who have had to coordinate and communicate across different spatial scales! In December 2019, we were finally able to all meet in person for our first official project meeting.
Figure 1. CCAS investigates coordination across groups of social carnivores with different types of group dynamics: high fission-fusion in hyenas (on the left), intermediate fission-fusion in coatis (centre) and cohesive group dynamics in meerkats (on the right).
The kick-off meeting took place in the old town of Konstanz, Germany. With the winter markets in full swing we were able to exchange ideas over steaming cups of mulled wine and hot chocolate, and we spent much of the meeting discussing synergies across systems: the project brings together meerkat, hyena and coati researchers (Fig 1).
We all aim to understand how carnivores with different levels of group cohesion coordinate group decisions. One of the novel aspects of the project is the use of combined audio and GPS collars to follow entire social groups, and we will be heading into the field this year to start animal tracking. While field data are collected, we are also developing methods for analysing these new data.
Though the project is only just starting, we are all looking forward to sharing our finding as they come out!
Figure 2: Project members (from left to right): Ben Hirsch, Frants Jensen, Eli Strauss, Marie Roch, Vlad Demartsev, Baptiste Averly, Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin, Marta Manser, Kay Holekamp, Andrew Gersick, Kiran Dhanjal-Adams and Emily Grout