The National Marine Mammal Foundation is happy to make available the most recent release of the Marine Mammal Movement and Behavior (3MB) software package. The 3MB software is a component of the Effects of Sound on the Marine Environment (ESME) software package but is also available as a stand-alone package, which can be downloaded from this page.


The 3MB software allows the creation of simulated aquatic species, or animats. Each animat consists of a series of behavioral states with probabilities of transition between states that can be modified according to abiotic factors (e.g. time of day, bathymetry). Each behavioral state contains controls for dictating the various components of an animat's dive behavior, including depth, ascent and descent speed, horizontal rate of travel, surface time, etc. Animat movements may also be constrained by bathymetric features and animats can be made responsive to simulated sound exposures. Furthermore, animats may function as individuals or be constrained to "pod" behavior.




The 3MB software permits the exploration of species dive behavior and provides an approach to estimating acoustic impacts to marine mammals when integrated with a suitable sound propagation model. Simple sound sources are made available in 3MB and a suite of "aversive" behaviors that are triggered above a threshold response can be programmed by the user. This permits the exploration of possible response scenarios to sound exposure, including the potential for beaching.


The package contains the following:


Marine Mammal Movement and Behavior (3MB) executable

Species Builder executable

Bathymetry files (Bahamas, Mid-Atlantic Bight, Southern California Bight)

Sound Source files (one mobile and one stationary sound source)

Species files

User Manual

MatLab scripts (for processing 3MB output files)


The 3MB software is free to the public. Its development was made possible by support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Marine Mammals and Biology (MMB) program. We would like to extend special thanks to Heat, Light and Sound Research, Inc. for hosting 3MB on the Ocean Acoustics Library website.


If you find bugs or errors in the software, please report them to  Recommendations for feature enhancement should be sent to We will attempt to address bug-fixes and enhancements in future releases of 3MB.



Dorian S. Houser, Ph.D.

Director of Conservation and Biological Research

National Marine Mammal Foundation