Analyze real ecosystems via their digital twins Explore the ecological consequences of human interventions at the planning stage
WHAT IS ECOTWIN?
Ecotwin is an open-source agent-based ecosystem simulator that runs on the game engine Unity. It includes models of inanimate objects like mountains and lakes, and living objects like animals and plants. Features of Ecotwin include:
Three-dimensional terrain models
Terrestrial and marine ecosystems
Generic models of animals and plants
Genotypes and phenotypes
Sexual and asexual reproduction
Sexual reproduction based on physical encounters
Nervous systems modeled by multiple neural networks
Biology only offers partial insights into the mechanisms that govern ecosystem development. Thus, the ecosystem models that we have today are necessarily far from perfect. Nevertheless, relatively realistic ecosystem models might contribute substantially to sustainable decision-making. Potential uses of such ecosystem models include:
Consequence analysis of human interventions in real ecosystems via fishing, forestry, agriculture, and urbanization
Theoretical biology, including evolution and
Game theory and behavioral economics
The goal of the Ecotwin project is to build a relatively realistic ecosystem simulator by including several features of ecosystem development that are sometimes omitted in other ecosystem simulators. In particular Ecotwin includes terrain models, genetic models, and behavioral models.
An ecosystem with phytoplankton, copepods, and krill. The copepods follow a pattern of diel vertical migration. At night they forage near the surface and in the daytime they move to greater depths where there are fewer predators.
An ecosystem with sexually reproducing goats and grass of different colors. Reflexes that prevent the goats from eating grass of certain colors can arise via mutation. Goats with reflexes for avoiding lethal grass eventually dominate the population.