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With the state of the environment on the forefront of many minds today, it’s important for our society to be able to understand how we interact with our local ecosystems and the potential impacts we can cause. Creating computational simulations of these environments can help to predict the possible effects of different situations. The purpose of our project was to create a predator-prey simulation of different species of fish that could take into account different population management strategies and accurately reflect the waves that could be caused by the introduction of various chemicals into the fish’s environment.

In order to create the model of this aquatic ecosystem, our team started with the framework of NetLogo, an agent-based simulation framework and modeling environment. This framework was used to create a prototype that would reflect the behaviors of fathead minnows and small mouth bass living together in a closed ecosystem, based on research done by the team to determine actual behaviors of these fish. In the model, the user can adjust the number of fish present at the start of the session, to try to create a balanced population that will maintain itself. The simulation also allows for the user to input chemicals into the water, and reflects how this would impact fish populations by changing reproductive rates, and other factors.

We hope to improve our model to provide a platform that allows for more user interaction and a more engaging experience. In order to do so, we plan to add further population management strategies, such as placing food sources in ideal locations that will encourage a dwindling group of prey fish to move away from clusters of predators, or away from an area that has been polluted. We also plan to further refine the underlying algorithms that control agent movement, feeding, and reproduction, to make the simulation as accurate as possible. Potentially, a more polished graphical user interface will be developed to further the user’s experience.

Publication Date



computer science, modeling, ecotoxicology


Computer Engineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Preetam Gosh

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

July 2015

Predator-prey game to maintain stable fish population for Ecotoxicological studies