Abstract # 134:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2010 11:45 AM-12:00 PM: Session 24 (Medallion Ballroom A) Oral Presentation


L. J. N Brent1,2, S. Semple1, C. Dubuc3,4, M. Heistermann4 and A. MacLarnon1
1Roehampton University, Centre for Research in Evolutionary Anthropology, Holybourne Avenue, London SW15 4JD, United Kingdom, 2Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, 450 Research Drive, Durham, 27708, USA, 3Département d’Anthropologie, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7, Canada, 4Department of Reproductive Biology, German Primate Centre, Kellnerweg 4, 37077, Göttingen, Germany

Social animals with the greatest access to social support, i.e., highest levels of social capital, may best be able to cope with challenges they face in their day-to-day lives, and this may be reflected in lower physiological stress levels. Here, we examine the relationship between social capital and stress hormone (glucocorticoids) levels in free-ranging adult female rhesus macaques [N=21] on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico. Behavioral data were collected for nine months, and glucocorticoid levels were quantified from fecal samples [N=1033] using enzyme immunoassays. We used social network analysis to generate a diverse set of measures of social capital for three types of affiliative association: grooming, the exchange of vocalizations and proximity. Glucocorticoid levels were significantly predicted by one network measure of indirect connectedness, proximity Reach, in interaction with dominance rank [GLMM: P<0.05]. High-ranking females had significantly lower glucocorticoid levels in months in which they had low levels of proximity Reach (i.e., when they had few connections two of fewer paths in the length, and their proximity network were therefore more focused). Our findings add to growing evidence which suggests that social capital helps gregarious animals cope with day-to-day challenges. Our study also joins recent research which suggests that indirect connections, or connections between individuals which result from their mutual connection to a third party, are important factors in the lives of social animals.