New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Human effects on natural biologic systems

Team: 28

School: Cleveland High

Area of Science: Environmental Science


Interim: Team Number: 28
School Name: V. Sue Cleveland High School
Area of Science: Environmental Science
Project Title: Human effects on natural biologic systems
Problem Definition:
Even before the Agricultural Revolution, humans have had, and are having, a huge effect on the world around them. Every day, fields are plowed; species are hunted, sometimes to extinction; forests are burned; new species are introduced; and cattle graze. All of these effects have huge effects on the biosphere.
The goal of this project is to module these effects to help better show human effect on the local wild life. Using net logo, we will create turtle species to symbolize different organisms while using patches to show the average useful vegetation in an area. Each turtle species will be assigned a value of stored energy; this is the amount of useful energy that can be gained if this individual is eaten, if this number drops to low the individual dies (due to starvation). Each species will be assigned a tropic level number, a herbivore value, and a carnivore value. The tropic level prevents animals from eating animals higher in the food chain than it. The herbivore and carnivore values tells a species whether or not it can or cannot gain energy from the patches (plants) or other animals respectively.
Problem Solution:
Once this framework is laded out, representing real biospheres (like a grass plane or the tropical rainforest) the user, representing humans, will then change something in the environment, from plowing half of a field, reducing food available to the herbivore, introducing cows into a once stable environment, or hunting all the wolfs in a region to extinction. We hope this can be used to accurately predict human actions on a region
Progress to Date:
Presently, most of the background research has been done, from the average energy available from certain biomes (like savannas or temperate rainforests) to the average required energy from various general species we plane on using in our program. The basic framework has begun and in a few weeks, we hope to be able to start programming specific species and then preceding into approximately real world scenarios which we will then be able to use to predict the outcomes of human actions.
Expected Results:
We expect that our program will be able to accurately module real world effects of human actions, like the burning of the rainforests on the local wildlife diversity. The program could be used to help determine the limits of human growth and help keep a balanced ecology on our plaint.
Team Members: Benjamin Fowler, Gabriel Coleman
Sponsoring Teacher: Debra Loftin


Team Members:

  Benjamin Fowler
  Gabriel Coleman

Sponsoring Teacher: Debra Loftin

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