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 International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2007)

Agent-Based Modelling of Whale-Watching Cruise Operators’ Behaviour

Clément Chion
Laboratoire d'Imagerie, de Vision et d'Intelligence Artifici

Samuel Turgeon
Département de géographie - Université de Montréal

Jacques-André Landry
Département de génie de la production automatisée - École de technologie supérieure

Lael Parrott
Département de géographie - Université de Montréal

Danielle Marceau
Department of Geomatics Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering - University of Calgary

Robert Michaud
The Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM)

Guy Cantin
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Suzan Dionne
Parks Canada

     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: October 23, 2007

In the context of marine traffic intensification within the St. Lawrence estuary, environmental managers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada, and the GREMM (The Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals) need to better understand the impact of human activities upon both marine mammals and their habitat. Because of its importance in the area, it is essential to give a particular attention to the interaction between whale-watching and marine mammals.
We present the design of a multiagent model representing the movements of whale-watching boats searching for whales using a cognitive approach. This approach allows the representation of cruise operators’ adaptations to the whales’ spatiotemporal distribution through the critical tourist season: in fact, historic data of marine mammal observations made onboard indicate that operators improve themselves in terms of quickness of the first observation made after departure from the port. The method used to model the operator’s decision-making is inspired from the “take-the-best” algorithm applied in a dynamic context of repeated games, an alternative way to model bounded rationality. The calibration of the cognitive model is made using data collected during interviews with cruise operators. The validation of simulation results is based upon the analysis of geographically referenced data acquired onboard during sampled whale-watching excursions within the Saguenay––St. Lawrence Marine Park. This multi-year data set includes spatiotemporal trajectories of boats and records of marine mammal sightings. The presentation describes the steps from the design of the agents’ decision-making module to the validation of simulation results using field data.

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