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Artificial Life

Spring 2006, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 243-257
(doi: 10.1162/artl.2006.12.2.243)
© 2006 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Visualizing Speciation in Artificial Cichlid Fish
Article PDF (254.42 KB)

The Cichlid Speciation Project (CSP) is an ALife simulation system for investigating open problems in the speciation of African cichlid fish. The CSP can be used to perform a wide range of experiments that show that speciation is a natural consequence of certain biological systems. A visualization system capable of extracting the history of speciation from low-level trace data and creating a phylogenetic tree has been implemented. Unlike previous approaches, this visualization system presents a concrete trace of speciation, rather than a summary of low-level information from which the viewer can make subjective decisions on how speciation progressed. The phylogenetic trees are a more objective visualization of speciation, and enable automated collection and summarization of the results of experiments. The visualization system is used to create a phylogenetic tree from an experiment that models sympatric speciation.