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Natural and Virtual Realms: An Integrative Approach Towards Understanding Natural and Anthropogenic Drivers of Animal Behavior and Energetics in Marine Ecosystems

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Funding Year: 2014

Research Areas: Climate, Other, Oceans

Regions: North America

Increasing public understanding of the effects of climate change on ecosystems is often limited by our ability to convey the complex interactions between organisms and the dynamic environments in which they live. This project will translate data from electronically tagged marine animals, such as alingcod or jellyfish, in the kelp forests of Monterey Bay into virtual reality where humans can enter the underwater realm to observe or become a fish in order to better understand how their movement and behavior is driven by the changing environmental conditions.

The EVP team's approach will provide an unparalleled tool that will allow a broad audience the personal, virtual, experience needed to become environmentally educated on marine, and other, climate change issues.

Learn more about the Environmental Venture Projects grant program and other funded projects.

Principal Investigators:

Jeremy Goldbogen, Assistant Professor of Biology

Jeremy Bailenson, Thomas More Storke Professor, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Professor, by courtesy, of Education

Related News

Video showing Senior Fellow Jeremy Bailenson and his virtual reality lab at Stanford, where he is studying how simulated changes in the environment affect people's thinking and behavior


Opinion piece by Woods Fellow Jeremy Bailenson, about the role of virtual reality can play in showing people the impact of their personal activities on the environment. The piece includes video and linkes to a file that allows anyone with Oculus Rift to download the experience and see it on their home computer system. By Jeremy Bailenson, San Francisco Chronicle

SF Gate

Stanford VR lab is focus of a documentary on how virtual reality can be used to communicate climate change in an immersive and scientifically valid way. Lab director Jeremy Bailenson hopes it will help bring awareness and behavior change to the topic of ocean acidification—the process by which the ocean becomes more acidic as it soaks up carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.


New advances in technology are sparking efforts to use virtual reality to help people gain a deeper appreciation of environmental challenges. VR experiences, says Woods Senior Fellow Jeremy Bailenson (communications), can be especially useful in conveying key issues that are slow to develop, such as climate change and extinction.

Yale Environment 360