SimuLab 9: The Deer Program and Population Dynamics
The Deer program (see Java Applet Page, uses the 2-dimensional random walk to model the variations that occur in a deer population. A deer moves randomly on a field, eating the grass wherever it steps. Grass grows back in each eaten square after a certain amount of time. (Time is measured in steps: in one time step, every deer takes one random step.)
Will the deer population grow or decline? A deer dies if it takes a specified number of steps in a row onto squares where the grass has been eaten and has not yet grown back. Every live deer has an offspring after another specified number of steps.
2. After reading the introduction under Describe, create a single deer by clicking the cursor in the middle of the field.
3. Start the program by clicking on Go.
4. Select Show Graph under the Control menu. The top portion of the graph shows the number of deer present in the field; the bottom portion the percentage of grass still alive on the field.
5. If at any time you want to stop the program, press the Pause button.
Will the initial population growth be different for 12 deer than for one deer? Will the final outcome be different for 12 deer than for one deer?
Now start the program as before, but this time click at a dozen different points on the field. Then start the program by clicking outside the field.
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