Monday, December 22, 2014

Ecosystems: Heading Into Artificial Life

The University of Windsor’s Dr Robin Gras explains the benefits of EcoSim, modelling software for ecologists.
Photo by Melissa Arditti

Sometimes, we think that we have all the answers. Other times, we get close to finding solutions, but many factors begin to limit our progress, leaving large gaps of space and time.

With the evolution of technology, discovering new ways of navigating complex biological and ecological issues, that we might have thought couldn't exist, is actually only the beginning steps.

After attending a lecture on ecosystems on December 17 at the Science Cafe, hosted by Canada South Science City, it is exciting to see how the artificial world is exploring many unanswered ecological questions concerning how species have emerged, their interaction processes, hypotheses for extinction, how diseases co-evolved, and what is yet to come in our ever-changing world.

The University of Windsor’s Dr. Robin Gras, Research Chair in Learning and Simulation for Theoretical Biology and Computer Science, has designed a fascinating computer simulator called EcoSim, which can use certain agent mechanisms and data codes to modify behaviours of predators and prey, and seek out global patterns, as well as species-specific patterns.

Computer modelling is an exciting tool to use in any science. It provides added insight into biological ecosystem interactions that are difficult to observe.

While it does have its limitations, its contributions are definitely worth further exploration.

For more information on upcoming lectures, join up on Canada South Science City’s Facebook page.

Thanks to Canada South Science City for their hospitality, by providing the audience with some tasty treats before the lecture began.

Treats to enjoy before the lecture.