Using an object-oriented model for ecological risk assessment on a great blue heron colony

Y. G. Matsinos, D. L. DeAngelis, W. F. Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The contribution of certain contaminants to reproductive failure in many avian species has been an ongoing concern. We used the individual-oriented approach in an effort to quantify effects of chronic contaminant exposure on small groups of interacting individual birds rather than the population as a whole. This was made possible by the use of an object-oriented model, where individual birds are interacting objects, and their actions are implemented by passing to them appropriate messages. Using this modeling approach, a breeding colony of Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) is simulated as an assemblage of interacting individuals whose daily actions (foraging, growth, feeding of the young) are simultaneously followed over short time intervals for a nesting season. Spatial distribution of the contaminants in prey resources is used on a cell by cell basis, and their effects on certain behavior characteristics of adult birds (e.g., foraging efficiency, effects on flying efficiency, parental care) are taken into account. Results show that sublethal effects can have a considerable effect on colony success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalMathematical and Computer Modelling
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1994


  • Avian toxicology
  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Individual-oriented models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation


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