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Creating Individual Based Models of the Plankton Ecosystem

Westley Hinsley, A. J. Field, John Woods

Conference or Workshop Paper
ICCS 2007, International Conference on Computational Science
May, 2007
Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume 4487
DOI 10.1007/978-3-540-72584-8_15

The Virtual Ecology Workbench (VEW) is a suite of utilities for creating, executing and analysing biological models of the ocean. At its core is a mathematical language allowing individual plankters to be modelled using equations from laboratory experiments. The language uses conventional mathematical assignments and seven plankton-specific functions. A model consists of a number of different plankton species, each with different behaviour. The compiler produces Java classes which when executed perform a timestep-based, agent-based simulation. Each agent is a Lagrangian Ensemble agent [13] representing a dynamic number of individuals, (a sub-population), that follow the same trajectory. The agents are simulated in a virtual water column that can be anchored, or can drift with ocean currents. This paper shows how the language allows biological oceanographers to create models without the need of conventional programming, the benefits of this approach and some examples of the type of scientific experiments made possible.

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