My goal for this simulation was to be able to abstractly demonstrate interdependence in an ecosystem. It isn’t meant to be an accurate model of any real ecosystem, but rather replicate that specific property of ecosystems in an easily observable environment. This simulation uses 3 types of actors, and unless all 3 are present the patterns by which they interact will quickly collapse.
Flora, which propagates outwards and sometimes generates “seeds” (solid green circles). Flora can only spread if it’s seeds are carried off by an herbivore. Each node has a lifespan and will eventually die if it isn’t eaten first. Without Flora, herbivores will die off because they have nothing to eat, then carnivores will die off because there are no herbivores.
Herbivores, which eat flora and will reproduce if they consume enough. If they happen to eat a seed, it will drop once the herbivore has traveled a certain distance away and start a new plant. Without herbivores, flora will die off because it cannot spread, and carnivores will die off because they have nothing to eat.
Carnivores, which eat herbivores and also reproduce if they consume enough. Without carnivores, flora will die off because they will be eaten by herbivores faster than they can propagate, and herbivores will die off because they will kill their own food source.
One step that’s missing from this food chain is decomposition. Decomposers would be responsible for turning dead material into nutrients that plants need to grow.
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