Tools for individual ecology

This page summarises tools to assist with the development, running and interpretation of individual-based models.


Software to record behavioural information from videos

Event is simple event-recording software that can be used to record information from videos, by associating keyboard letters with different activities on the video. Videos can be played at different speeds, or run through multiple times to record different types of activity.  A data file is produced that can be imported into a wide range of software for analysis. We have used Event to collect data on the feeding rates of birds and how these depend on the amount of food available and the density of competitors. However, Event can be used to collect data from videos of any subject. Event is available as a free download.

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Software platform to develop individual-based models

Morph is software for developing individual-based models for a wide range of forager-prey systems. We developed Morph in a general way to increase the speed with which these models can be developed. We have applied Morph to numerous wader and wildfowl species, as well as freshwater fish, and it has been used to predict the effects of environmental change caused by factors including habitat loss, sea level rise, disturbance from humans, nuclear power stations, wind farms and tidal barrages. However, Morph is not restricted to these species and issues, and can potentially be applied to a diverse range of systems.

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Food Requirement Calculator

Online tool to assess the food requirements of animal populations

The Food Requirement Calculator is used to predict the amount of food that needs to be reserved in the environment in order to support a population of animals. This is likely to be larger than the amount actually consumed as animals cannot find all of the food, and some animals are excluded from some of the food due to competition. The calculator on this website is set up to predict the amount of cockle or mussel biomass required to support overwintering populations of oystercatchers. However, the principles on which the calculator is based could potentially be applied to a much wider range of species.

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