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FishSim Animation Toolchain

I greatly promote the use of computer-animation and, hence, virtual reality as a fruitful tool in animal behavior studies and related disciplines. I see huge potential benefits in combining both worlds of biology and computer science to get access to innovative new techniques for future animal behavior research. Furthermore, the use of computer-animation helps to reduce the number of live test animals which greatly improves animal welfare.


My PhD work in the Virtual Fish Project at University of Siegen included the close collaboration with colleagues from the computer science department to provide advice on the biology and behavior of our study species as well as experimental design and its implications for the development and usability of a simulation software for virtual fish stimuli. Our collaboration led to the release of the free and open-source “FishSim Animation Toolchain” (short: FishSim) in late 2017.


I am using FishSim in my own research on public information use in the live-bearing sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna). Here, I focus on answering the question, which quality or quantity of visual information affect mate-choice copying. My research benefits from the various possibilities for manipulation of visual information (presented via virtual fish stimuli) and the high degree of control and standardization which computer-animation can provide.


University of Siegen, 20 - 22 October 2017


I co-organized a workshop introducing FishSim and providing help and advice for its implementation in research. The workshop was funded by the Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft e.V.

We published a short summary of the workshop here:  

Workshop website:



Download the latest version of FishSim Animation Toolchain here:



Gierszewski S (2017) FishSim User Manual Version 0.9  

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