2015 Project 4

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In this project you will conduct an experiment using PyBioSim. The research question we want to answer here is: To what extent is schooling a useful behavior for fish? We will examine this in a predator prey environment in which you program the prey. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Review the new pred/prey section on the PyBioSim wiki page and download the code.
  • Implement a schooling behavior for the prey fish. Make sure that the schooling behavior has a "knob" or adjustment you can make to increase or decrease the tendency for the fish to school.
  • Run experiments in the pred/prey environment and score the performance of your schooling behaviors at different levels.
  • Chart the result.

Paper of interest: Schooling behavior in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata): an evolutionary response to predation http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407174?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Suggestions on how to program the behaviors

This is an open ended project that is mostly up to you.

Yes you are allowed to tinker with the predator behaviors and other conditions of the simulation and environment.


Conduct a quantitative comparison how your animals perform as you change their behavioral parameters. You should provide two movies illustrating this (no more due to space issues), but you may create graphs or other data representations to illustrate your results.

Resources and Ideas

Motor Schema Formulations: See Appendix Balch Thesis
Slides on Reynold's Boids here

What to Turn In

Via t-square turn in attachments only:

  • Your "brain" python code for the prey.
  • Two movies.
  • Your report in report.pdf

The report should describe your approach in enough detail that someone else could implement it. What are the behavioral components you used? What are their parameter values? Which parameters did you vary or experiment with? What were the results?