Modeling social and lunar coordination in the spawning behavior of Fundulus heteroclitus

Oscar Goodloe, Joel Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The timing of fish reproductive behavior can depend upon seasonal, lunar, social, and environmental cues, each with their own distinct ecological risks and sensitivities. Fundulus heteroclitus, commonly known as mummichogs, exhibit spawning behavior wherein both social and lunar effects appear to factor into when they spawn, and each to a differing degree depending on their geographic location. We model mummichog spawning behavior using a coupled oscillator model, including terms to account for both social and lunar influence as well as stochastic effects. Fitting the model parameters to laboratory mummichog spawning data from the Environmental Protection Agency reveals a dependency on both social and lunar coordination. In order to describe the extent of possible coordination we develop a data driven order parameter to address the difficulties inherent in measuring coordination in many-agent models where the dynamics of isolated individual agents are nontrivial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-370
Number of pages11
JournalCommunications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation
StatePublished - Jun 30 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


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