National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research
University of Miami - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149




Agent-based Models

NCORE leads the Modeling and Decision Support working group of the World Bank / Global Environmental Facility Coral Reef Targeted Research Project, and collaborates in a variety of vital programs, including the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System Project, the NSF Biocomplexity Program, and the Caribbean Reefs at Risk Analysis. A series of international workshops are being conducted in order to prioritize research issues.

We describe here a series of studies focused on developing agent-based models (ABM) of some interacting elements of coral reefs. Readers are encouraged to learn more about this approach (see Links of Interest for some recommended websites). 

(Animation by: Wade Cooper, 2003)

ReefSim, our final product, will be written in the Java2 and Java3D, and utilizes Silicon Graphic (SGI) technologies.  ReefSim will allow managers to respond preemptively to human or natural disturbances that have the potential to impact the ecosystem. Initially, models are being developed for an unconstrained 2D space. As they are developed, agents (3D rendered when applicable) will be superimposed onto a 3D digital map to create a virtual reality of the area in study.

This will provide managers and researchers 3D simulations executed to either reconstruct past events or examine potential future scenarios

 Among others, the following are the major fields of study that a prototype will be developed in the near future:

  1. Reef fishes (prototype of the Wa-Tor agent-based model now available), 
  2. Macroalgae
  3. Epizootiology
  4. Corals, and
  5. Socioeconomics.