Elizabeth A. Hobson            

Contact Information
ehobson AT nimbios DOT org

Postdoctoral Fellow
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN USA

Summary of research interests & projects

I am a biologist who specializes in investigating questions about behavioral ecology, especially those that increase our understanding of animal social interactions. I use a combination of observational, experimental, computational and theoretical techniques to determine how the behavior of individuals leads to the formation of group-level social structures.

Research Interests

Evolution of social structure and complex sociality, social network analysis, temporal dynamics of network structure, dominance hierarchies, social learning, fission-fusion dynamics.

Current & upcoming projects
I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee where I am developing methods to define, quantify, and compare aspects of social complexity across a wide range of species.

My Ph.D. research focused on sociality in a small parrot species (the monk parakeet). I expanded on several aspects of my dissertation work during a short-term postdoc position with Simon DeDeo (Indiana University & Santa Fe Institute). We investigated how individual actions such as aggression contribute to the formation of emergent global social properties such as rank in a dominance hierarchy. Now at NIMBioS, I am adapting these methods to detect the level of social knowledge in many different species in order to link social interaction patterns with group social complexity.

Please visit this page for more information on my research projects.
 News & Updates

April 2015
  • I wrote up a guide to Manuscript revision hacks: How to automate some of the annoying parts of writing a response to reviews letter to the editor (automated line referencing and updatable block quoting in LaTeX).
  • I will be presenting some of my recent research on the timing of aggression in parakeet groups at the Animal Behavior Society Conference this summer as part of a workshop and symposium called "It's about time: Understanding temporal variation in behavior". The workshop and symposium are being organized by Andy Dosmann. Contact Andy if you are interested in attending the pre-conference workshop [link]. 
  • Our paper "Shared genetic diversity across the global invasive range of the Monk parakeet suggests a common restricted geographic origin and the possibility of parallel selection" is now available online at Molecular Ecology [link] and has been getting some nice press coverage [link].
    • I participated in the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop "Information and Entropy in Biological Systems" [link]
    March 2015
    • I participated in the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop "Neurobiology of Expertise" [link]
    • I presented some preliminary results of a new project for the NIMBioS Casual Seminar series in a talk called "Dynamics of aggression: How do individuals choose targets?".