Skip Navigation


Home Browse Resources Submission Instructions About Help Advanced Search
The Evolution of Sustainable Use is a flash-based game that allows multiple players to simultaneously exploit a model fishery. The game presents a fishery as a metaphor for any communally-exploited resource. This imaginary fishery is scaled down so that the actions of 2-8 players influence the sustainability of the system. In the game “boats” represent the unit of fishing effort, and each player is free to decide how many boats to put out each year. The game simulates the economic consequences of different decisions: players who are successful at fishing have the potential to earn more boats, but unsuccessful players may lose boats and may even go ‘out of business’ completely.
The game is currently configured to play in two modes. In the first mode, each year the fish population is replenished to the same level regardless of how heavily it was exploited in the previous year. While ecologically unrealistic in the long term, this mode allows students to understand the exploitation dynamics that emerge when a resource is very abundant in relation to our ability to exploit that resource (a situation that resembles early human exploitation of ecosystem services). In the second mode, the growth of the fish population is realistically dynamic: the population in the current year is dictated by the fecundity of the species and the population surviving the previous year’s fishing effort. In this mode, the fishery can crash and even go extinct.
Associated files
Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Population Growth,Carrying Capacity,Predator-Prey Dynamics,Fisheries Ecology,Resource Management,Multilevel Selection,Sustainability
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description Students who complete these activities should be able to:

1. Describe the effects of different individual levels of exploitation effort on the overall success of each individual;

2. Differentiate between deterministic and stochastic influences on the outcome of experienced by each individual;

3. Explain the different dynamics displayed by an resource-limited system and one in which resources are delivered at a constant rate;

4. Predict how resource-limited systems will respond to unregulated exploitation (in other words, to predict a “Tragedy of the Commons”);

5. Predict what level of exploitation will result in a crash of a fishery (given knowledge about its average fecundity);

6. Describe the conflict between individual and group interests when members of that group exploit a shared resource; and

7. Devise regulatory schemes that promote both a healthy economy and a sustainable fishery.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Christopher X Jon Jensen
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Pratt Institute
Department of Mathematics & Science
School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Primary Author email
Added By Id
  • cxjjensen
Submitter Name Christopher X Jon Jensen
Submitter Email
Rights Submitter is the author of the material and has the right to submit this work to EcoEd DL
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 2013-04-02
I Agree to EcoEdDL's Copyright Policy & Terms of Use No
Date Of Record Release 2013-06-20 14:26:09
Last Modified By Id
  • mcmilla
Date Last Modified 2013-09-10 14:34:10
Release Flag Published

Resource Comments

(no comments available yet for this resource)