Individual based model of slug population and spatial dynamics

Y.H. Choi, D.A. Bohan, R.P.J. Potting, M.A. Semenov, D.M. Glen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The slug, Deroceras reticulatum, is one of the most important pests of agricultural and horticultural crops in UK and Europe. In this paper, a spatially explicit individual based model (IbM) is developed to study the dynamics of a population of D. reticulatum. The IbM establishes a virtual field within which slug spatial dynamics and changes in abundance were simulated. The strong dependence of slug behaviour on environmental conditions is built into the model, which is based upon previous work on the environmental dependence of slug population dynamics. The simulation results show that the IbM described well changes in the slug population. The IbM proved capable of describing slug populations over 3.5 years, including the presence, magnitude and duration of D. reticulatum population crashes within this period. Moreover, the model was capable of reproducing slug population dynamics at two sites, with distinct weather and some 100 km apart, with minor changes in initialisation values but no change in model structure and parameter values. A study of field heterogeneity, which might simulate various field designs, indicated the importance of spatial structuring to slug population dynamics and the utility of the IbM for simulating a range of potential spatial management treatments for slug control to maximise crop yield. This IbM system performs well and is currently being used as part of an integrated approach to predict slug population dynamics and control in the UK
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-350
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • deroceras-reticulatum
  • different temperatures
  • terrestrial slug
  • straw disposal
  • winter-wheat
  • pest-control
  • clay soil
  • gastropoda
  • ecology
  • field


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