Elizabeth A. Hobson            


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

Ph.D. 2013
Avian Communication & Evolution Lab
Department of Biology
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM USA

B.A. 2004
Environmental Studies
School of the Environment
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec Canada

Contact Information:
ehobson AT nimbios DOT org

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 taxa.

My Ph.D. research focused on aspects of social structure 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. 

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

 News & Updates

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?".
January 2015
  • Coming soon: 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" was provisionally accepted at Molecular Ecology.
  • My paper "The effect of social context and social scale on the perception of relationships in monk parakeets" was published in Current Zoology [link].
  • A profile of my research was posted at LiveScience [link].
December 2014
  • Coming soon: my paper "The effect of social
    context and social scale on the perception of 
    relationships in monk parakeets" was accepted at Current Zoology. It will be part of the Animal Social Networks special issue, guest-edited by Noa Pinter-Wollman. 
  • I posted a tutorial for drawing graphs via the attribute-ordered network layout method I developed for this paper.