Many fish have patterns on their skin that are made up of tiny cells of different colors, including black and yellow. Patterns form because the cells follow specific rules. Figuring out these rules is important in biology. Mathematicians help discover these rules by simulating pattern formation -- like growing a fish pattern on your computer! You can try it yourself on this website and read more about it here.
Step 1: To build a pattern with math and computer coding, first choose a starting point (what your fish looks like when it's young, before its full pattern forms):
Step 2: Fish develop different patterns when the cells in their skin follow different rules for how to act. Pick a rule from the options below:
Now you are ready to simulate pattern formation with a mathematical model -- hit start!
You can press pause or click reset to start over. Try picking different starting points and rules to explore all the patterns that you can create.
To control how fast cells appear in the pattern, select a simulation speed below:
Select a cell size to control how big the cells are in the simulation: