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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Agent-Based Models of Predator-Prey Relationships between Killer Whales and Other Marine Mammals

Status Complete
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 03/01/2005
End Date 01/01/2009
Funding Source Marine Mammal Commission
Funding Amount 30,589
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 04/08/2010 10:29PM
Keywords complex systems, killer whales, individual based model, agent based model


  Ward Testa, Kenrick Mock

Student Researchers
  Cameron Taylor, Heather Koyuk, Russell Waggoner


The role of killer whales in the decline of various marine mammal populations in Alaska is controversial and potentially important. Estimation of killer whale numbers and the rates of predation on various marine mammal species now have high research priority, but how we interpret these new data is dependent on having an adequate theoretical framework. Thus far, only simplistic, static models of killer whale consumption have been constructed to test the plausibility of killer whale impact on other species. This is partly because the interactions between transient killer whales and their marine mammal prey are poorly suited to classical, Lotka-Volterra approaches to modeling predator-prey systems. Agent-based models simulate the biology and behavior of single agents that interact to produce emergent properties of the larger system. This killer whale model is an agent-based model at two levels: the level of individual transient (mammal eating) killer whales that eat, grow, reproduce, and ultimately die, and the level of hunting groups that can change in size and composition while encountering and killing other marine mammals. The prey, on the other hand, are modeled at the population level where only their density determines how often they are encountered by groups of killers whales.

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Shared Project Files (e.g. papers, presentations)

File name Description Uploaded by
Mock_Testa_MMCFinalReport.pdfFinal Report to the Marine Mammal Commissionafkjm