Frequently Asked Questions

Pile-driving of the DanTysk offshore wind farm. © Vattenfall
How can I obtain the DEPONS software?
DEPONS is freely available from GitHub
What makes DEPONS so special?
DEPONS is unique in simulating animal movements very realistically, and in letting population impacts of disturbances emerge from a reduced foraging efficiency when animals are scared away. Although the model is currently parameterised for harbour porpoises in the North Sea, it can be used for other species with similar biology as well.
Has DEPONS been thoroughly tested and documented?
Yes, every single component of DEPONS has been thoroughly tested to ensure that the simulated porpoises behave like real animals. The behaviour and distribution of real porpoises has been described in a series of scientific publications (see details on Background) and the correspondence between simulated and real animals is documented in the TRACE document that accompanies the model (
Is DEPONS still maintained and supported?
Yes, DEPONS is regularly updated to ensure that it remains functional as computer operating systems get updated.
How do I parameterise DEPONS for another area or study species?
There are, in principle, three kinds of information that you need for parameterizing DEPONS:
  • A map of where food is abundant throughout the range of the population.
  • tracking data for calibrating animal movements on different spatial/temporal scales.
  • data on how animals respond to the disturbance in question.
Then you can follow the cook-book in the TRACE document that describes how DEPONS was initially parameterised.
Where has DEPONS been used?
DEPONS has been used to assess the effect of noise from wind-farm construction in the North Sea harbour porpoise population (see and is currently used by a number of companies and research organisations to assess more local effects of pile-driving noise on porpoises.
What are the current plans for DEPONS?

We plan to use DEPONS to assess the effects of changing food availability associated with climate change, and are currently working on extending it to make realistic simulations of the impacts of ship noise on porpoises as part of the SATURN project.

Will you be able to provide guidance, should we decide to use the model for one of our projects?
Yes, we will be able to help you getting DEPONS up and running, and provide support if you experience issues with the simulations. Please post any questions you might have on the ‘User forum’ page.