During the last year I was reading some articles about niche conservatism/evolution. There are a lot of theories and methodologies to deal with this kind of questions, but sometimes it’s hard to understand all this mathematical and theoretical concepts about models of evolution: Brownian motion models, Ornstein-Uhlenbeck processes, etc. Following KISS philosophy (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) I wrote some code using the wonderful tool NetLogo to develop a very simple model that helps to understand some simple processes related with ecological traits evolution…
The model implements two usual processes used to describe the evolution of trait values: Brownian motion and Ornstein-Uhlenbeck. While Brownian motion process represents random evolution of a trait value, depending only on Brownian rate (amount of change allowed per time), Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process means directional evolution towards an optimum with a specific selection strength. In the model you can explore diverse combinations of each parameter and observe the results also in a spatial explicit display with mobile agents that track environmental conditions trying to match their theoretical requirements.
Code will be uploaded soon, so you could modify it and report any suggestion or bug.