Dynamic agent-based modelling

Simulate the dynamic behavior of aquatic life and their interactions with the environment to investigate the impact of disturbances on habitat connectivity, marine animal migration and population levels

Why ABM Lab?

Describe and model any type of object (alive or inanimate) in the water phase

If an agent and its circumstances can be expressed mathematically, it can be modelled with ABM Lab. Model the migratory behavior of fish, marine mammals and birds to study the potential impacts arising from marine oil & gas exploration. Analyse the transport and fate of invasive species or infectious diseases/parasites between aquaculture farms. Identify hot-spots to study connectivity between key habitats such as corals, seagrass meadows and mangroves.

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Watch how ABM Lab can be useful for a wide range of applications

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Simulation of the effect of pipeline bridges on the population exchange of Dungeness crabs

Model complicated behaviors such as movement, sensing and interaction

Analyse complicated behaviors by modelling an agent’s movement, sensing and interaction with the environment. With ABM Lab, you can model horizontal and vertical movement, migration and swarming, foraging, breeding, growth, death and predator-prey relations.

Couple with MIKE ECO Lab and MIKE 21/3 FM to unlock full capabilities

Create tailor-made agent-based models automatically coupled to MIKE 21 or MIKE 3 FM hydrodynamic and/or water model models through ABM Lab’s full integration with MIKE ECO Lab. Easily run ABM Lab on top of pregenerated hydrodynamic forcings to save on computational costs.

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Dynamic coupling of ABM Lab with MIKE 21 FM to model coral larvae

ABM Lab provides powerful insight for these sectors

Coastal & Offshore Constructors

Determine the potential environmental impacts of offshore construction on migratory aquatic animals.

Environmental Protection & Policy Makers

Evaluate the connectivity between marine protected areas and define the importance of protected area networks.


Optimise aquacultural production by tracking waterborne diseases and/or parasites to avoid disaster.


Determine the impact on migrating fish stocks in rivers from planned hydropower operations.

Ports & Maritime

Understand the potential risks of invasive species arising from ballast water

No in-house modellers?

DHI offers the support of in-house modelling and consulting to get to the root of your environmental challenges sooner.

Check out the various ways our customers are using this multi-dimensional software

“ABM Lab is a powerful, efficient and user-friendly software module that has helped me to implement a coral larvae model in an incredibly short time."

- Dr Georgenes Cavalcante
Associate professor at the Federal University of Alagoas - Brazil.
"Creating new agent-based models coupled with hydrodynamics is incredibly easy in ABM Lab compared to free open source software options. Thanks to the seamless integration with hydrodynamic models, I saved weeks of model development time”

- Dr. Magda Chudzinska
Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of St. Andrews
"Thanks to ABM Lab, we saved a lot of time by implementing a predefined DHI larvae model template as basis for our own agent-based model of oyster larvae transport and settlement."

– Dr. Felix Jose
Associate Professor of Marine Science, Florida Gulf Coast University

Featured software subscription package

Environmental Engineering

Access a curated selection of MIKE Powered by DHI software and tools designed specifically for environmental and noise impact assessments including MIKE ECO Lab, MIKE 21/3 Transport, MIKE 3 Underwater Acoustic Simulator and more! Choose ABM Lab as your bonus module for the added power of agent-based modelling.

Additional capabilities & unique features

With the release of MIKE 2023, MIKE ABM Lab users can now perform agent-based modelling calculations on dry elements. In addition, MIKE ABM Lab has been equipped with MPI parallelisation for enhanced performance when calculating ‘distance to shore’ and ‘direction to shore’.

Save time and improve your modelling workflows using MIKE Zero’s upgraded editors and viewers. Take advantage of new keyboard shortcuts and themes, improved tabbing, tear off and cascade functionality plus easier access to User Guides and Scientific Documentation.

Rely on several new built-in constants with FM-based engine support. For example, users can now compute the approximate distance and direction to shore.

Compute Remote Area Search Functions (RASFs) for concentration-based variables using an enhanced algorithm. Experience improved performance depending on the computational mesh size and search radius.

MIKE Zero, DHI’s fully Windows integrated graphical user interface, is now better than ever and comes standard with all MIKE 21/3 software. Enjoy easy access to new MIKE Cloud applications and Cloud-enhanced functionality, plus an extended set of MIKE tools within theme-based (rather than product-based) interactive workflows. Ensure important model components such as sources and structures stay at the forefront with a new interactive, customisable floating mapping window. Lastly, the updated tabbing functionality will help you work in a more organised and efficient manner.

You can now access ABM Lab on Azure Marketplace, where you can start modelling in the cloud with no hardware limitation in four simple steps. Learn more

Using MIKE OPERATIONS as the platform, ABM Lab can form the core of a new generation of risk assessment tools. For example, DHI recently created GlobalSEA SAR (Search and Rescue), an online operational system designed to mitigate risks of vessel grounding. The real-time integrated model predicts the vectors and speeds of vessels that have lost power or steerage in order to assess associated risks (e.g. grounding on a reef) and then proposes measures to abate it.

ABM Lab offers advanced solutions to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for aquatic organisms – whether it involves the behaviour of large animals such as mammals & fish or dispersal units like larvae, seeds and spores of aquatic organisms. For example, users can model the response of large animals to disturbances like underwater noise from drilling or seismic surveys taking into consideration seasonal migrations as well as meteorological and hydrodynamic changes.

Using ABM Lab, it’s possible to determine the connectivity between protected marine areas and define the importance of the protected area networks. For example, models of coral larvae dispersal can be developed, simulating mortality, larvae settlement, individual reaction to environmental and anthropogenic, gradients. Important connectivity corridors between coral reefs can then be identified based on these models.

The built-in MIKE ECO Lab Template Editor is an efficient tool to formulate new agent-based models in MIKE ECO Lab templates, which can then be coupled to the hydrodynamic modules, MIKE 21 & MIKE 3 Flow Model FM.

The computational engines of the MIKE 21/3 FM series are available in versions that have been parallelised using both shared memory as well as distributed memory architecture. The latter approach allows for domain decomposition. The result is much faster simulations on systems with many cores. It could be feasible to carry out ABM modelling using decoupled result files from a HD simulation.

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Learn how your project can benefit from the powerful insight gained from agent-based modelling.

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