Article: A computer model for skeletal growth of stromatoporoids
Andrew R. H. Swan and Stephen Kershaw
A robust and versatile computer model of simple accretionary laminar growth can be developed based on probabilistic accretion of pixels on a raster array. The model is a reasonable analogue for growth of simple organisms such as stromatoporoids. Experiments with the model allow the effects of sedimentation and various alternative growth algorithms to be simulated. The model can be validated, with some reservations, on theoretical and empirical bases: the simulations show similarities to observed stromatoporoid morphologies. The results suggest that morphology is strongly influenced by the pattern of sedimentation and that stromatoporoids required a local pause in sedimentation in order to become established. The results are consistent with the view that stromatoporoids were integrated organisms but with a low level of organization allowing a degree of autonomy of modular growth.