Individual-based models simulate populations and communities by following individuals and their properties. They have been used in ecology for more than four decades, with their use and ubiquity in ecology growing rapidly in the last two decades. Individual-based models have been used for many applied or "pragmatic" issues, such as informing the protection and management of particular populations in specific locations, but their use in addressing theoretical questions has also grown rapidly, recently helping us to understand how the sets of traits of individual organisms influence the assembly of communities and food webs. Individual-based models will play an increasingly important role in questions posed by complex ecological systems.
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