Swarm Dynamics and the Evolution of Antipredator Tactics

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Cooper, Guy
Drinen, Douglas
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Department of Mathematics and Computer Science , University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee , Swarm , Antipredation , Predator , Prey , Evolution , Complexity , Boids
My work makes use of the Boids concept devised by Craig Reynolds in 1986. Boids is an artificial life algorithm that simulates the flocking or swarming behavior of certain species such as birds or fish. Each "boid" is modeled as an independent agent responding to their immediate environment through a set of simple rules. The macroscopic complexity in flocks and swarms thus arises as an emergent property of the numerous individual agent-agent interactions over a short spatial scale. I wrote a Java program which applies the Boids algorithm to a two-dimensional simulation of predator-prey dynamics. I explore the potential advantages of the emergent swarming/flocking behavior by comparing the average lifespan and evasion success of prey populations that swarm to those that do not. In addition, I implement a genetic algorithm in order to model the long-scale evolution of flocking tactics in response to the pressure of predatory forces.