Simulate the Natural World with Virtual Biology Lab

Virtual Biology Lab is a free, online educational resource provided for educational purposes. VBL simulates natural environments with the way life responds to changing conditions. We provide a world to be explored rather than a path to be followed. Background information and technical instruction help students learn by experimentation. Parameters and conditions adjust easily for observable effects and consequences. Because these are stochastic simulations, no two runs are identical. The data generated are biologically realistic and are displayed numerically and graphically. Typically, students will design experiments and conduct them using our models, but collect and analyze their data in other software.

If you are having trouble loading the models, please make sure java is enabled in your browser.
Students utilize the Virtual Biology Lab models

Modern Design

We are currently transitioning our models from HTML-based to HTML5. The new versions of the models include embedded instructions and background information, as well as enhanced graphics. Older model versions, including the original Java Applets, can be found on the site map page. Take a peek at what it looks like in our “See it in Action” video.

Try the HTML-5 versions of our models by clicking on the images below.


Screenshot of the Island Biogeography model by Virtual Biology Lab

Island Biogeography


Screenshot of the PopGen Fish Pond Model by Virtual Biology Lab

PopGen Fish Pond


Screenshot of the Barnacle Competition Model by Virtual Biology Lab

Barnacle Competition