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  • We modelled complex behavioural patterns

    Representing fish in water models
  • Representing fish in water models
  • Representing fish in water models
  • Representing fish in water models
  • Representing fish in water models

Representing fish in water models

The aim of this project was to identify the best way to insert fish objects in to our existing hydrodynamic models, a new requirement prompted by a clear market need for this type of service. We wanted to prove the concept and applied it to two areas of environmental science: hydro power impacts and invasive species migration.

Our team developed the capability to model a number of complex behavioural patterns of larvae and juvenile fish using our existing hydrodynamic models and particle modelling expertise. The specific scientific advances were predictions of impacts of a variety of built structures, and insights into the patterns of dispersion of an invasive species. These predictions were provided with an accuracy that would have been impossible without these models. The ability to model larval dispersion and the impacts of marine power projects on fish are expected to generate considerable interest in the near future, due to both the general government policy support for marine renewable energy and future marine management policy.

EU policy requires the designation of a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2012. Connectivity of areas around complex coastlines and tidally energetic estuaries remains a major challenge for MPA designation, monitoring and maintenance and marine spatial planning in general. We have demonstrated that we can re-use hydrodynamic models to produce useful tools for marine spatial management.

The outputs from this project were based around two site-specific applications, and included an ecological modelling workshop and software tools.


Jay Willis, Elfed Jones


Fish behaviour, hydrodynamic model




Willis J (2010), Modelling salmon in hydrodynamic models, 41st Annual IFM Conference. Institute of Fisheries Managers. Portsmouth.

Willis J, (2010), Clam connectivity, supply and invasion. European marine biology symposium EMBS2010. Edinburgh

Willis J, (2011), Use of agent modelling for conservation and management in coastal environments. CIWEM - Habitat change and management. Oxford.

Willis J, (2011), Contrasting methods for modelling fish behaviour. International fish screening techniques conference. Institute of fisheries management. Southampton, UK.

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Giovanni Cuomo

Giovanni Cuomo

Research Director

+44 (0)1491 822 414

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